Medical school officials are still waiting to learn whether Yale’s general surgery residency program will receive reaccreditation, after the accreditation council failed to announce a decision last week as expected.

The Accreditation Council for Graduate Management Education notified the medical school in February that the program would lose its accreditation in July 2003 because of reports that residents worked too many hours and received substandard education.

The council was expected to announce Friday whether medical school officials had sufficiently improved surgery residents’ working conditions, but it has not yet made any official announcement.

Yale President Richard Levin said he expected the program’s accreditation to be renewed.

“We’re quite optimistic about being reaccredited,” Levin said.

Robert Bell, a professor at the School of Medicine and former resident, said the medical school had made a major effort to correct the problems cited by the accreditation council.

“Any change that they’ve suggested, we did it,” Bell said.

Bell cited a recent, “positive” review of the program that was conducted in August as evidence that a favorable decision is likely.

Since the accreditation council’s announcement in February, the hospital has limited general surgery residents to 80 hours weekly and capped individual shifts at 24 hours, Bell said.

The hospital has also hired more “physician extenders,” such as nurse practitioners and physician assistants, to perform residents’ more mundane tasks such as paperwork and tracking X-rays, he said.

But Bell cautioned that the effects of the changes have not been completely positive.

“There are now a lot of times when residents actually want to stay and they’re not allowed to stay, so it’s still not perfect,” he said.