BLACKFOOT — At a time when the Governor wants to add 10 new internal medicine residencies in eastern Idaho, Bingham Memorial Hospital has lost the accreditation for its residency program.
The matter came to light during the Jan. 21 session of the Legislature’s Joint Financial Appropriations Committee, during the testimony of Dr. Ted Epperly, executive director of Idaho’s state-funded residency program. When committee vice chairman Wendy Horman asked why Bingham Memorial had lost its accreditation, Epperly replied he had no knowledge of the specifics. He explained that most hospitals would appeal, but that Bingham decided not to.
“I’m not sure we’ll ever totally understand,” he was quoted by the Idaho State Journal. “It tells me that something happened internal to the program.”
Epperly went on to explain that all other Idaho residency programs were functioning well: “No other program in Idaho is in the same predicament.”
In reply to an inquiry by the Idaho Business Review, Bingham Memorial spokesman Jericho Cline replied in an email: “This past October, the review committee of the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education made the decision to withdraw accreditation from the Bingham Internal Medicine Residency program at Bingham Memorial Hospital, effective June 30th, 2020.
“We are deeply disappointed by the review committee’s decision. Despite that disappointment however, our immediate focus has been on helping our current residents find placement in other training programs.
“After … much consideration it was determined by the program leadership to not appeal or reapply at this time. We were certainly within our right to appeal ACGME’s ruling, or to reapply for accreditation, but from our perspective it felt that ACGME’s vision for residency training had fallen out of alignment with our own vision. As a result, the difficult decision was made to retire our residency training program this June.”
Bingham Memorial is the flagship hospital of the nonprofit Bingham Healthcare, the largest health network in eastern Idaho. It established its residency program in 2014 as a partnership with Davis Hospital and Medical Center of Layton, Utah, sponsored by the Rocky Mountain Osteopathic Postgraduate Training Institution. The fourth and last class of residents will graduate in June 2020.