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Program Coordinator versus Program Manager?

+2 votes
Has anyone been following the conversation surrounding the potential verbage change from "program coordinator"to "program manager?"
asked Apr 29, 2016 by skepple (280 points)

5 Answers

+1 vote
I have - and I think it's going to get interesting in how it changes the conversation and expectations. I think the program coordinator role over the years, the pay grade across institutions, is so varied and often times reflected in an uneven balance between work and compensation.  I believe this role, with everything new that comes each year from the ACGME that this is no longer a basic, secretarial/clerical role. I think any institution that classifies coordinators that way are woefully ignorant of all we do.  These jobs should be salaried, professional level jobs for those that do this job, and it is my hope that this program manager conversation helps move the ball in that direction.
answered Apr 30, 2016 by blnickel (1,350 points)
+1 vote

As many of you may already know, the CDTF (Coordinator Description Task Force) has been working hard the past two years to develop improved ACGME Common Program Requirements language in support of the program coordinator and administrator evolving roles.

After much work, we believe we have come up with a language that is fair and accurately describes our responsibilities, as well as equally complements our roles as support for our directors and programs. We used the SBAR process to come to this final submission and invite you to review this process by viewing the attached document.

At this time we are asking that you please review the final language by clicking the link below. If you are in support of the final submission, please sign the petition in survey.  We are asking that you are able to sign the petition and forward this onto anyone that you think would be approval of this as well by May 31, 2016.

Please note: the beginning of the survey will have the full language we plan to submit to the ACGME this summer, so please read through it fully before signing. Your opportunity to sign the petition will follow the verbiage.


ACGME consideration for universal program manager language throughout all Common Program Requirements.


The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) is currently amidst significant change in deploying new accreditation requirements, the Next Accreditation System (NAS). This initiative requires new processes, procedures, and responsibilities as identified by ACGME. In addition, factors such as the Affordable Care Act have placed increased clinical demands on physicians. The program manager (formerly program coordinator/administrator) is often the one constant in maintaining the program’s integrity.

As a result of the above mentioned initiatives, the program manager has become a crucial member of the leadership team. In addition, the managers are directly impacted by the requirements to submit extensive program information minimally on a semi-annual basis. These updates contain critical information that will sustain ACGME regulatory compliance and accreditation. In addition to the annual updates, new elements for the NAS will include ongoing assessment and reporting of trainee performance in alignment with the educational milestones. The assessment and reporting must be determined by PGY level. The program manager serves a critical role in supporting the training program’s interpreting regulations and in identifying, creating and implementing new evaluation and data reporting tools. Failure to document and report information timely and accurately could result in probation or closure of an accredited program. The Common Program Requirements (CPRs) must reflect these pivotal changing roles of the program manager.


The program managers are instrumental in maintaining compliance with ACGME program requirements for the training programs. Nationally, the administrative, managerial, and educational role of the program manager has increasingly become more complex in maintaining quality education programs. Extensive accreditation requirements and increasing accountability and documentation make the program manager role vital to his/her institutional program and the ACGME. The program manager oversees the day-to-day issues and processes of the training program, significantly relieving the Program Director (PD) of the administrative burden thus allowing him/her to focus on patient care and the education and assessment of the trainees.


The ACGME is responsible for the accreditation of approximately 9,600 residency and fellowship training programs. These programs are sponsored by approximately 700 institutions within the United States. Training programs educate over 120,000 trainees in 130 specialties and subspecialties. In review of the CPRs and the ACGME document "Specialty-specific References for DIOs: Expected Time for Coordinator" it reveals that over half of the specialties do not have any language in the CPRs for expected time for the Coordinator [Manager]. In addition, much of the existing CPR language does not reflect the managerial/administrative accountability in supporting the trainee programs.

Over the last several years, the level of responsibility for a program manager has grown, but never to the extent of the current changes described above. The CPRs, and specialty area CPRs, lack accurate reflection and/or verbiage of the competencies required for this role.


The program manager’s operational management is at a higher level of independence and administrative discernment than the program ‘coordinator’ of eight years ago; this must be acknowledged by the ACGME and all specialty areas within the CPR. We recommend CPR revision and implementation of program manager language in alignment to the competency level required of today’s program manager. See Attachment 1: Recommendation.

answered May 2, 2016 by spieno (325 points)
+1 vote
Are you referring to the new verbage being submitted to the ACGME with the petition?  If so, I signed.
answered May 6, 2016 by SarahMB04 (230 points)
0 votes
Click on the SurveyMonkey link above to read the proposed language.
answered May 2, 2016 by spieno (325 points)
0 votes
I am part of the Coordinator Description Task Force which spear-headed this change, if you are referring to the change in verbiage in the ACGME Common Program Requirements. What question/s do you have?
answered Jun 13, 2016 by sheSEZ (1,150 points)