Information Update 5/4/2020


Information Update for Incoming Resident and Fellows

May 4, 2020

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If your official start date in our Chattanooga GME Programs in July 1, and if you are not currently in a training program at another institution, we are requesting that you move to the Chattanooga area by the end of the first week of June if at all possible.  See the message below:


Good evening, incoming Residents and Fellows.  I hope you agree that April is now officially the longest month of the year and that finally we are in May!  We congratulate those of you who have recently graduated from medical school or have upcoming graduations in May.  I understand and acknowledge that schools throughout the U.S. have been forced to cancel large in-person graduation ceremonies, but hopefully you are still having meaningful - even if via zoom - gatherings to celebrate and say goodbye to friends, colleagues, faculty, and family as you prepare to join our GME Programs soon.


Thank you all for diligently working on your Onboarding Checklists within our secure web-based management system, New Innovations. 

  • Most of you have completed or are nearing completion of Onboarding Checklist #1.
  • Most of you are also working on Onboarding Checklist #2. We have all your photos and NPI numbers and most of your Background Checks. We modified Checklist #2 to enable you to upload not only your Direct Deposit Form, but to upload a scanned copy of your W-4 form and your voided check or letter from your financial institution.
  • All of your received Checklist #3 Thursday from Kim.  This checklist focuses on our Tennessee Opioid Prescribing Laws and Information. We appreciate your getting through these as quickly as you can.
  • We are working with both University and Erlanger officials to have all their policies and presentations that impact you during training. That information will be distributed within the next two weeks in Checklists #4 and #5.
  • The final Checklist #6 will include an online link for you to complete the federal I-9 form to affirm your eligibility to work in the U.S. We've received permission to accept scanned color pdf files of your documentation proof (e.g., U.S. Passport, State Driver's License, Birth Certificate, SS card, etc.) directly to the onboarding steps. The instructions and list of acceptable documents will be part of that checklist. Please remember that documents must have valid dates and cannot have expired. Due to federal requirements, we cannot make that checklist available until less than 25 days before your official start date (for most of you that is July 1, 2020). This will help all of you so you do not have to mail documents to our office or have to come to our office as you have lots to do with moving and getting settled in your homes and apartments here.

For those of you whose official start date in our Chattanooga GME Programs is July 1, and you are not currently in a training program at another institution, we are requesting that you move to the Chattanooga area by the end of the first week in June -- if at all possible.  We were advised to request this after discussions with University and Erlanger leadership, including the Erlanger Medical Directors for Disaster Medicine and Infection Prevention.


This is to ensure that you will have at least 14 days in our community before you begin attending orientation sessions, including program boot camps, BLS, ACLS, and/or PALS certification classes, etc., and are also asking that you not travel to other major surrounding cities such as Atlanta, Birmingham, Memphis, Nashville, or Knoxville.  Again, this request is for those of you who start your new program with us on July 1 and are not currently in training programs at other institutions.  We do realize that a few of you who begin on July 1 are still in training programs at other institutions through the end of June and will not be able to meet this deadline.  If your start date is July 1 and you cannot move to Chattanooga by the end of the first week of June, please email me at regarding your situation and when you are planning to be moved to Chattanooga.  I will be contacting those incoming Residents and Fellows whose start date is August 1 in a few weeks.


Erlanger and our community are thankful that the number of COVID patients and COVID-related deaths are must lower than had been initially projected.  Everyone has worked together with the goal of slowing the spread of the virus and ensuring the hospital's ability to treat patients safely and to protect our healthcare providers with necessary supplies and PPE.  Efforts have included:

  • As the Sponsoring Institution for GME within Erlanger, the UT College of Medicine Chattanooga submitted a Pandemic Stage 3 Emergency Declaration to the ACGME, enabling our faculty and trainees to focus most efforts on clinical care during this time and measured emergency schedules to permit appropriate resting times between duty assignments while still meeting the four key ACGME requirements. The current declaration expires May 24, 2020, but could be extended if necessary. Each individual program has been able to create and conduct its own clinical work schedule. Most programs are transitioning back to more normal schedules as of next week. Adaptability is key during this difficulty time, and we are proud of how smoothly and selflessly our faculty and trainees have risen to the challenge.
  • Erlanger has restricted exterior access to the hospital to limited entrances that are monitored by staff.
  • Erlanger has implemented a no visitors policy until further notice.
  • Erlanger has limited meetings to no more than 10 individuals in each room, and requiring everyone to practice social distancing (6 ft.) as much as possible.
  • Most of our programs have transitioned to zoom didactics, grand rounds, and educational conferences, as well as key meetings with Residents and Faculty to disseminate information and listen to issues and creative solutions for problems that arise. We expect this will continue for some time, particularly until the maximum of 10 people in meetings is still in place.
  • Erlanger has provided PPE to clinical staff including Residents and Fellows with guidelines for distribution and conserving resources.
  • Erlanger has suspended travel of its employees and healthcare providers including Medical Staff Physicians, Residents/Fellows, and Allied Health Professionals outside Hamilton County until further notice.
  • The University has also suspended domestic and international travel for its employees, including physicians, Residents and Fellows.
  • The University suspended clinical rotations for Medical Students and PA Students on all statewide campuses in March. A decision about students returning to clinical assignments on June 1 is under consideration and we hope to have a decision by May 15.
  • Erlanger suspended elective procedures and surgeries for a period of time (although Erlanger has begun a phased scheduling of elective procedures and surgeries as of May 1, 2020).
  • Erlanger and the University have permitting non-clinical yet essential staff to work remotely when possible rather than being in the hospital.
  • The UT College of Medicine Chattanooga campus is beginning a phased return of administrative staff to the Deans Offices while permitting staff to work remotely when not able to be in the office. Department Chairs have authority over the phased return of their respective departments and staff.
  • Erlanger has implemented a daily online reporting of physical symptoms before any employee, allied health provider, or physician (including Residents and Fellows) begins each shift at the hospital (effective May 1, 2020).
  • We are planning a zoom type Resident Town Hall, hopefully the week of May 19, with Erlanger and University leadership available for comments and questions.

Also wanted to let you know that we are working on your EPIC training with Erlanger. Once your Erlanger network accounts are set up, you will be sent links to login to Erlanger's Online Learning System (called EOL) so you can complete required Compliance and EPIC modules.  The trainers will let me know if the all day in-person training usually required by the hospital will be conducted via WebEx or other online modality.  I will keep you posted as soon as they get back with me.


We are also working with an outside provider for required BLS, ACLS, and PALS courses for those of you who have not been able to get those at your home institutions.  We will communicate with you as soon as we can - thank you all for responding with information and copies of your current cards.  We are trying to determine if NRP (for Pediatrics, Family Medicine, and OB/GYN Residents Only) will be done after you begin your residency programs.  Similarly, we are working to determine if ATLS (for Surgery, Emergency Medicine, Orthopaedic Surgery, and Urology Residents only) will be online or if Erlanger Trauma Services will be able to work in small groups on June 18 and 19.  At this time, the ALSO training (for Family Medicine Residents only) is still scheduled for June 18 and 19 at the UT Family Practice Center using several rooms.  As soon as I have concrete information, I will email you and post information to the website.


We will be in communication in the next two weeks with any scheduling changes and will also update our Incoming Residents and Fellows webpage with information as changes are finalized.  Again, I appreciate your efforts in preparing for your GME training in Chattanooga and really look forward to seeing you soon.  Thank you, stay safe, enjoy this time, and be careful out there...


Pamela D. Scott, C-TAGME (Pam)
Director, Graduate & Medical Student Education
University of Tennessee College of Medicine Chattanooga
Cell:  423.637.2555.

UT College of Medicine Chattanooga     960 East Third Street, Suite 100     Chattanooga, TN 37403     (800)947-7823, ext 6956

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