FAQ About Our LCME Accreditation

Who accredits medical schools?

 The Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) accredits medical education programs leading to the M.D. degree in the United States and Canada. To be accredited, programs must meet the national Standards and Elements described in the LCME publication, Functions and Structure of a Medical School. Further information may be found at www.lcme.org

Why is accreditation important?  

Accreditation signifies that national standards for structure, function and performance are met by a medical school’s educational program leading to the M.D. degree. Students enrolled in and graduates of LCME-accredited medical schools are eligible to take United States Medical Licensing Examinations. These graduates also are eligible to enter residencies approved by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME). Graduation from an LCME-accredited U.S. medical school and successful completion of national licensing examinations are accepted as prerequisites for medical licensure in most states.

How are medical schools accredited?  
The LCME has 12 standards that are focused on various areas of the function of a medical school. These areas include finance, student support services, recruitment and all aspects of the curriculum. Each standard is made up of elements that explain exactly what the LCME requires for satisfactory functioning of a school of medicine. There are 93 elements. 
How often are medical schools accredited?  
 

Every eight years schools prepare a report that answers questions and collects detailed information for submission to the LCME. A team of faculty and leaders from other medical schools read the detailed information, conduct a three-day site visit and then submit a report of their findings about the school to the LCME.

What are the typical outcomes of an LCME site visit and evaluation?

A committee of the LCME reviews the detailed information and the report of the site visit and then issues a determination. All schools have deficiencies that will require correction. The categories are:

  • Accredited with progress reports regarding elements needing monitoring.
  • Accredited, Warning about correction of unsatisfactory elements.
  • Accredited, on Probation, with two years to correct unsatisfactory elements.
 
What is the outcome of the October 2016 LCME site visit of Saint Louis University School of Medicine?

It was determined that we are fully accredited but because of the number and type of unsatisfactory elements, we are accredited with probation and have been given two years to correct deficiencies.

Is the School of Medicine fully accredited while on probation?
Yes. We remain fully accredited while we correct all unsatisfactory elements during the two years of probation. 
Will the probationary status affect the opportunity to take the national board examinations or obtain a position in a graduate medical education program?

Since we remain fully accredited, the probationary status will not impact the ability of currently enrolled students to take the national board examinations or to obtain a residency position.  

What were the most common deficiencies noted in the LCME review?

Broadly categorized, the LCME identified problems with the curriculum, lack of central oversight and some documentation errors.

 

 
What action is being taken to correct the elements that were determined to be unsatisfactory?
We have created a steering committee to oversee the entire process of remediation. In addition, work groups are being established to address each of the broadly categorized deficiencies (curriculum, central oversight and documentation).  
How will you ensure that the remediation process is on track?
We will work closely with the LCME committee to ensure that our remediation actions satisfy all the requirements. Furthermore, we will engage national experts who are experienced with LCME accreditation and will guide our remediation process.  
How will continued accreditation be ensured?

We will develop a continuous quality improvement process that evaluates our medical education program on an annual basis. This process with be governed by a steering committee with an external advisory board.

What if the issues can’t be resolved in 24 months? Could SLU’s medical school lose accreditation?

We will correct all of the issues identified in less than 24 months. The School of Medicine will not lose its accreditation. This matter has the full attention of the leadership of the School of Medicine and the University.

 
I have applied to the School of Medicine, should I be concerned that the school is on probation?

We understand your concern. We remain fully accredited, with all of the rights and privileges that come with full accreditation. We will correct all of the issues cited by the LCME and have the probation lifted.

Because we remain fully accredited, this status will not impact our graduates’ ability to be placed in prestigious graduate medical programs across the country. The School of Medicine leadership stands ready to answer questions of our prospective students.  You can email us at som-deansoffice@slu.edu.

I am a graduate of the School of Medicine. Has this decision just devalued my degree?

We are keenly aware that this news is disconcerting to our School of Medicine alumni. Every one of our graduates has received an excellent medical education, and this does not change that. It is undeniable that our alumni are providing compassionate care and conducting groundbreaking medical research around the world.

We understand that this news will affect perceptions our medical school in the short term, but we intend to correct the issues and set up structure to ensure this never happens again. We also intend to include some medical school alumni in the remediation process. Their insights will be invaluable. While it may be of little consolation, several other prominent medical schools have successfully come off of probation in recent years. 

How do you intend to correct the deficiencies cited?
  • Our primary goal is to prepare our students to be outstanding clinicians, researchers, community leaders and lifelong learners.
  • We will review our medical student education program from top to bottom to ensure compliance and to seek opportunities for novel educational approaches.
  • We will address in detail the cited deficiencies, but every element of every standard in the LCME guidelines will be reviewed to ensure that we meet or exceed their standards.  
  • We will create a culture of discipline and teamwork with accreditation and documentation of our processes.
  • We will work closely with the LCME and other extramural medical education experts to seek input related to redesign our educational programs to make them world-class.  
Is this issue tied to the recent budget issues and position eliminations at SLU?
There is absolutely no connection. In fact, the University’s financial support for our medical education program has increased in recent years.
I am a patient of SLUCare. Should I be concerned about the quality of the medical care I receive?

Absolutely not. The accreditation decision relates only to our medical education program, not our clinical practice, SLUCare. We have the finest physicians and medical staff in the region. They are leaders in their fields and will continue to provide the very best medical care anywhere.