Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

States Plan Med Schools to Bolster Workforce: With Physician Shortages Expected, New Schools Are Being Proposed in Florida and California

Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

States Plan Med Schools to Bolster Workforce: With Physician Shortages Expected, New Schools Are Being Proposed in Florida and California

Article excerpt

Several states are in the process of adding new medical schools to shore up expected shortfalls in the physician workforce.

The United States could see physician shortages run as high as 85,000 physicians by 2020, according to government estimates. States will have to start expanding medical school enrollment now to avoid shortages down the road, the Association of American Medical Colleges recently warned.

The response from the states is to train more physicians.

Florida State University's College of Medicine in Tallahassee, which was accredited just last year, became the first new allopathic medical school in more than 20 years. Together with expansion of existing schools, Florida's medical schools will more than double enrollment, up to 1,100 students.

Evidently not satisfied with that increase, the board of governors of the state university system recently approved proposals to set up two more medical schools, one at Florida International University and the other at the University of Central Florida. Those medical schools could be up and enrolling by 2008.

Other states are also considering new medical schools as a way to bring physicians into their communities. The University of California at Merced, barely out of the box itself, presented a proposal this month to set up a medical school by 2012.

California currently has to recruit physicians from out of state because of a gap between the number of doctors trained in the state and the number needed, said Peter Warren, a spokesman for the California Medical Association.

It wouldn't be surprising to see five or six new medicals schools start up across the country over the next 5 years, said Paul Umbach of Tripp Umbach Healthcare Consulting Inc., in Pittsburgh.

Currently, there are 126 U.S. medical schools graduating a few more than 15,000 students a year, said Jack Krakower, Ph.D., associate vice president of medical school services and studies at AAMC.

Along with graduates from international medical and osteopathic schools, they fill roughly 22,000 residency slots, virtually all of which are currently funded through the Medicare program.

More medical schools will not equal more doctors unless there are also more residency slots for those graduates. …

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