OSHA to Examine Physician Work Hours

Janice Simmons, for HealthLeaders Media , September 8, 2010

In its petition, Public Citizen cited recommendations made by the Institute of Medicine in its 2009 Report on Resident Duty Hours. They included:

  • A limit of 80 hours of work each week, without averaging.
  • A limit of 16 consecutive hours worked in one shift for all resident physicians and subspecialty resident physicians.
  • At least one 24-hour period of time off work per week and one 48-hour period of time off work per month for a total of five days off work per month, without averaging.
  • And in-hospital on-call frequency no more than once every three nights, no averaging.

These recommendations are "necessary for protecting the safety of resident physicians and subspecialty resident physicians," according to the petition submitted by Public Citizen, the Committee of Interns and Residents/SEIU Healthcare, and the American Medical Students Association.

"Their implementation would also have the secondary benefit of resulting in a safer, better standard of care for patients nationwide," the petition added.

Janice Simmons is a senior editor and Washington, DC, correspondent for HealthLeaders Media Online. She can be reached at jsimmons@healthleadersmedia.com.

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