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Cost implications of national reforms at teaching hospitals


Narrator:       This is Science Today. New limits on hours that physicians-in-training, or interns, can work was put into effect last summer by the nation's Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education. The goal is to reduce medical errors at teaching hospitals by lessening fatigue caused by long hours.

Nuckols:        The more senior residents are still allowed to stay up all night taking care of people, there's also going to be a requirement now that and after they do that, they're going to be either given a place to sleep before they drive home or a taxi voucher. So, that's another change.

Narrator:       UCLA researcher Tara Nuckols and her colleagues looked into the cost implications of these reforms and report that it could prove costly for U.S. teaching hospitals. But if effective and medical errors are reduced, there could be savings in money and lives.

Nuckols:        The effects on medical errors have not been studied for these reforms on a large scale and so we'll have to wait and see after it's implemented nationwide what the effect is.

Narrator:       For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.