Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Good News: A Surge in New U.S. Medical Schools

From the NY Times, "After Years of Quiet, Expecting a Boom in U.S. Medical Schools":

"Nearly two dozen medical schools have recently opened or might open across the country, the most at any time since the 1960s and ’70s. During the 1980s and ’90s only one new medical school was established. These new schools are seeking to address an imbalance in American medicine that has been growing for a quarter century.

The proliferation of new schools is also a market response to a rare convergence of forces: a growing population; the aging of the health-conscious baby-boom generation; the impending retirement of, by some counts, as many as a third of current doctors; and the expectation that, the present political climate notwithstanding, changes in health care policy will eventually bring a tide of newly insured patients into the American health care system.

If all the schools being proposed actually opened, they would amount to an 18 percent increase in the 131 medical schools across the country. (By comparison, there are 200 law schools approved by the American Bar Association.) And beyond the new schools, many existing schools are expanding enrollment, sometimes through branch campuses."

MP: Maybe we'll know we've got enough physicians when we see a proliferation of ads for doctors making house calls?

James Woodruff


At 2/17/2010 10:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hasn't the doctor bottleneck been residencies not medical schools?

At 2/17/2010 11:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is good news.

We also need to reduce the amount of apprentice time and other bottlenecks created to protect the profession from increased competition.

Also, increase the supply of doctor substitutes and create advanced nursing specialties.

At 2/17/2010 4:43 PM, Blogger Thai said...

This may lower the salaries of physicians as more providers add to supply but it will also most definitely increase the % GDP we spend on health care in America.

Don't confuse issues.

At 2/17/2010 5:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll believe this when the AMA actually accredits them. AMA doesn't certify all comers in order to limit the supply of doctors, that's why nobody bothers to start new medical schools. Even if they do get certified, the AMA always imposes strict enrollment limits as a condition, putatively to improve quality, but in reality to create scarcity and raise doctor's wages.

At 2/17/2010 5:19 PM, Blogger Thai said...

Agree but I think the only thing this will do is cause US med school graduates to displace slots currently filled by international medical graduates- IMGs represent approximately 25% of all US medical residents and a similar number of US physicians.

IMGs represent:

A. Some of the most talented immigrants pools in America
B. A huge free lunch to the US taxpayer as foreign IMGs have been trained all through medical school on foreign taxpayer dollars

I would not underestimate the negative effects such a program could have either.

At 2/18/2010 12:52 AM, Anonymous Lyle said...

The issue about IMGs is that some are americans who can not currently get into us med schools. Explaining the med schools in places like Grenada.
As noted we need to finish moving to a model where outpatient primary care physicians don't do hospital treatment, but it is done by hospitalists. Then the training can more nearly fit what the role will be, a primary care physician will then be trained to recognize when a hospitalization is needed, and forward the records and the patient to the hospitalist for treatment, the reverse will happen after discharge.


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