Medical School Remediation FAQ
- What is Remediation?
- Does Remediation Work?
- Who Requires Remediation?
- Remediation for Professional Issues
- Remediation for Academic Issues
- Remediation for Misconduct Issues
- Will Medical School Remediation Prevent Dismissal?
- Who Creates the Remediation Plan?
- Can A Medical Student Appeal Remediation?
- Does Remediation Go on Your Permanent Record?
- Is Remediation Confidential?
- What Happens If You Don't Complete Remediation?
- Is Remediation Necessary?
- What Should You Do if Your Remediation Plan Isn't Working?
- When to Get a Lawyer Involved in Your Remediation Plan
- Is Remediation the Same at Every Medical School?
1. What is Remediation?
Remediation in a medical school setting refers to steps a student can take to restore their position in their program. An opportunity for remediation is often provided before a medical student is dismissed from their program. When a remediation plan is made, a medical student will generally have a specified amount of time to demonstrate their improved ability to meet the standards of their program.
Remediation can apply to academic issues or professional conduct issues within a medical school. If a med student successfully remediates their performance or conduct, then the student will be able to continue their education, oftentimes without evidence of their performance issues going into their permanent file.
2. Does Remediation Work?
Remediation often works, although it can miss the mark in terms of addressing underlying issues some medical students are facing. In some cases, all a student needs is a second chance, and when they retake a course or seek out treatment to remediate behavioral issues, they move forward in their medical school coursework without issue.
Other times, there are bigger issues at play, such as undiagnosed medical conditions, that require more than a “do-over.” Sometimes the issues causing a medical student to underperform are due to the school's ineffective ADA compliance or discriminatory faculty behavior. In these scenarios especially, the student needs to seek out legal representation so their rights can be protected.
3. Who Enforces Remediation?
Remediation mandates are handed down by the medical school's Academic Progress Committees, Student Progress Committees, or other medical school boards or bodies which often are administrative and quasi-disciplinary in nature. When a student isn't performing to the minimum required standards, the board or committee in charge of assessing performance will review student files on a case-by-case basis.
The reviewing body will often hold a vote to determine whether the student should be afforded the opportunity to remediate their behavior. For medical student misconduct issues, the issue of remediation may be decided at a hearing, where evidence is presented and decided upon by one decision-maker.
4. Remediation for Professionalism Issues
Professionalism issues often arise in professional schools like medical school, where the coursework is designed not only to cultivate knowledgeable specialists but individuals who can go out into the world and behave as professionals. Common medical professional issues include:
- Chronic lateness
- Poor communication
- Lack of discretion
- Emotional outbursts
The medical school's remediation process for professional issues may include a probationary period where a med student must demonstrate, for a specified amount of time, their willingness to correct their behavior.
5. Remediation for Academic Issues
When a medical student doesn't perform to the academic standards described in their medical school's policy, they may be put on academic probation. Depending on the program the student is in, they will be faced with meeting different academic benchmarks before they can move forward in their program.
Medical students, for example, may have to repeat a course, a clerkship, progress exams, lab practicals, or an entire academic year to satisfy their remediation mandates. If a student does not improve their grade on the second attempt, they may be allowed a third or fourth attempt in some scenarios. Each medical school will apply its own standard, and it's important to understand the policy at your medical school.
6. Remediation for Misconduct Issues
Misconduct issues are often difficult to remediate, if not precluded from the prospect of remediation altogether, because they frequently involve another student or person who feels they have been mistreated or they allege behavior more egregious in nature. These misconduct issues may include:
- Title IX violations
- Alcohol or drug abuse
Although unlikely due to the nature of the issue, if you've been accused of student misconduct and remediation is an option, you may need to demonstrate your willingness to correct your behavior through treatment programs or other constructive steps. It's critically important that a medical student demonstrate a sincere desire to change when they face remediation for student misconduct issues.
7. Will Remediation Prevent Medical School Dismissal?
If remediation has been offered to you, then it can be an opportunity to avoid dismissal due to poor academic performance, professional issues, or other misconduct. You need to comply with the terms of your remediation program and make every effort to demonstrate your willingness to improve.
Importantly, just because the opportunity for remediation has been given to you, it does not guarantee you will not be dismissed from medical school. You must complete the terms of your remediation as a condition of being able to continue in your program. These terms often come with strict timelines that you need to be aware of.
8. Who Creates the Remediation Plan?
Frequently, the remediation decision is handed down by the progress committee or the disciplinary board. Subsequently, the student is required to meet with the department head or academic affairs authority to develop a plan for remediation within their medical program.
When creating a remediation plan, it's important that you make sure the plan will actually help you improve in the area that caused you to be scrutinized in the first place. A medical student needs advocacy when developing a remediation program that suits them. Sometimes a medical student's performance issues can be attributed to inadequacies within the school or discriminatory practices committed by medical school faculty. If you suspect your ability to perform at a competitive level is hindered by circumstances outside of your control, you should hire an experienced attorney to advocate for your rights.
9. Can A Medical Student Appeal Remediation?
A medical student who's required to complete remediation steps after they've missed the mark in academics, professionalism, or conduct assessments may be able to appeal the decision made by the reviewing body. Appeals must be made within a certain time of the final decision or vote and usually must assert that:
- New evidence demonstrates that the outcome of the committee vote should have been different.
- The policy was incorrectly applied or interpreted in making the decision to require remediation.
- Someone involved in the decision-making process had a conflict of interest or was motivated by discriminatory behavior.
Appealing decisions made by your medical school's review committee or board can be complicated and are always time-sensitive. If you do not submit your request for an appeal within the parameters defined in your medical school's policy, you may miss out on a completely valid appeal. You should consider obtaining experienced legal counsel during the appeal process.
10. Does Remediation Go on Your Permanent File?
Remediation sometimes goes into a permanent file. While each medical school may vary, the Association of American Medical Colleges provides that academic remediation will be maintained in a medical student's permanent record. The AAMC also notes that Medical Student Performance Evaluations should be maintained in the permanent record. Notably, remediation that may involve medical treatment could be excluded from a medical student's permanent file if treatment is protected under HIPAA.
Whether or not remediation records end up in your permanent file depends on your medical program and also what the remediation requirements resulted from. It is important to understand your medical school's record keeping policies as these rules will dictate what goes in the record.
11. Is Remediation Confidential?
Certain aspects of remediation are supposed to remain confidential. Any issues discussed during the review of your case before the academic or student progress committees are confidential. That being said, it may be difficult to keep evidence of remediation under wraps as your fellow medical students are likely to notice if you're repeating coursework.
It may be easier to keep remediation that involves professional treatment programs confidential than it will be to keep academic remediation a secret. Importantly, those charged with reviewing your case and making the determination of your standing are charged with keeping personal matters confidential, and if you feel they've violated this duty, then your rights may have been violated.
12. What Happens If You Don't Complete Remediation?
Medical students who don't complete their remediation requirements may not get any additional chances to prove to their medical school that they want and deserve to be there. Even those students who perform better during remediation, but still don't meet the predetermined benchmarks for success, could be dismissed from their medical programs.
Unfortunately, some medical schools don't offer remediation as a means to support their students so much as they offer it as a way to avoid accusations that they didn't provide a medical student with a second chance. That is to say that some students are offered remediation even though the committees that will decide their fate have already made their ultimate decision. For the medical students and their families who are paying for this false-promise, the results can be crushing.
Medical students who develop a false belief that they will be able to return to good standing are always devastated to learn that, despite their added efforts and tuition investments, they're still dismissed from their medical school. Having an experienced attorney involved as early as possible when facing any medical school concern is always best, but in particular, students facing dismissal need to contact an attorney to see if their due process rights have been violated and what can be done to try to rectify the issue.
13. Is Remediation Necessary?
Sometimes remediation is not only necessary, but it is incredibly helpful. Medical students who glimpse the devastating consequences of potential dismissal often pour their hearts and souls into correcting the issues that caused them problems to begin with. These medical students double down on studies, or they seek professional help that can aid them in behavioral issues. When remediation works, everybody wins.
There are instances, though, when remediation isn't going to help a student because their performance or behavior issue isn't rooted in circumstances they can control. For example, a medical student with hearing difficulties may experience a harder time learning than their peers if the school doesn't provide reasonable accommodations pursuant to law. Another example might be an instance where a student's low grades are the result of a medical school instructor who is discriminating against the student.
If you suspect that your performance at school is suffering due to the actions or inactions of your medical school, then you should seek out legal guidance as most medical schools must comply with federal laws pertaining to discrimination and ADA compliance.
14. What Should You Do if Your Remediation Plan Isn't Working?
Remediation should be flexible. If you don't see results from your remediation plan, then you should contact the faculty member who's been charged with helping you remediate. Depending on your circumstance and your medical school program, this individual may be someone within your Office of Student Affairs or the department head of the course you're remediating.
The success of your future professional life as a respected doctor depends on the success of your remediation, and if you feel that the decided upon strategy isn't working for you, then you need to bring it to the attention of those who will help decide your fate. It can be difficult for medical students in remediation programs to get the earnest attention of faculty, deans, or assistant deans, and you shouldn't hesitate to bring in your own legal advocate to help you protect your future.
15. When to Get a Lawyer Involved in Your Remediation Plan
When you messed up: Anytime your medical education is in jeopardy, you need to seek legal guidance. Some medical students feel they don't deserve the assistance of a lawyer because they messed up, and now they need to deal with the consequences. The truth is, everyone makes mistakes, and those who overcome their mistakes frequently go on to become rock star physicians because they worked through the tough times and still made their successes happen.
When your medical school messed up: Medical schools are not immune to making mistakes. Frequently, they fail to implement clear and concise policies, they fail to implement ADA compliance requirements, and they fail to notice faculty who discriminate against certain students. Not only do you deserve legal representation under all of these circumstances, but you may even be entitled to compensation.
In sum, you should have an experienced attorney helping you as early as possible if you are facing any issue or concern in medical school which can potentially have adverse consequences. Regardless of the nature of the issue or concern, medical school in many respects is a high-stakes race. Your future residency and employment prospects can be seriously jeopardized if the issues and concerns that can arise in medical school are not properly addressed and resolved as best as possible. An experienced attorney will be your best ally to work towards the best possible resolution and they should be involved from the start of the process.
16. Is Remediation the Same at Every Medical School?
Remediation policies are not the same at every medical school, and they aren't even the same within different programs at the same school. Academic and progress review committees will vary in policy and standards, but they each aim to accomplish similar goals. The goal being to move qualifying medical students through their program and on to graduation.
When you need legal representation, you should hire an attorney who's experienced with student discipline defense in multiple jurisdictions. Attorney Joseph D. Lento and his team work with medical students and their parents throughout the nation day in and day out to bring tireless medical student rights advocacy to all schools. To learn how the Lento Law Firm can help you today, call 888-535-3686 right away.