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Med Schools Boost Enrollment, But Residency Slots Threatened

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, May 4, 2012

The nation's medical schools are on track to boost enrollment 30% by 2016, but they may not have residency slots available for all of their new graduates, the Association of American Medical Colleges reports.

AAMC lobbyist Christiane Mitchell says federal funding for graduate medical education programs is under siege on several fronts, and that graduate education at the nation's medical schools has been targeted for as much as $60 billion in cuts over the next decade.

"We are very worried about a potential bottleneck and that we will see more qualified applicants for residencies than there will be slots," Mitchell says. "We are very concerned that that could happen in the near future. And that will be sped up by the federal cuts in GME support. That is a very real concern."

"If there were a significant cut in residency slots, you would see teaching hospitals reducing the size of their programs and maybe eliminating some training programs. That would be an immediate impact," she told HealthLeaders Media.

The AAMC's annual 2011 Medical School Enrollment Survey found that first-year medical school enrollment is projected to reach 21,376 in 2016-17, a 30% increase above first-year enrollment in 2002-03 and in line with the 30% increase by 2015 that the AAMC called for in 2006.

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2 comments on "Med Schools Boost Enrollment, But Residency Slots Threatened"


Karen Sibert MD (5/4/2012 at 11:59 AM)
We could see this coming a mile away, ever since the Balanced Budget Act capped residency support in 1997. Adding medical school positions without residency positions was short-sighted beyond belief. We'll spend more tax dollars training med students (since their tuition doesn't nearly cover the cost) and still not end up with more physicians. What was the AAMC thinking?? And there's still widespread willful ignorance of the fact that the shortage of specialists, such as surgeons, will soon equal the shortage of primary care physicians.

A. J. Rosmarin (5/4/2012 at 10:38 AM)
The absurdity of the proposed cuts to Resdidency Programs can't be downplayed. What good is an increase in Medical School enrollment with a paucity of Residence Slots? Thje nuber of Resident Slots has remained unchanged since 1996. With a sunami of potential new healt-insured about to overwhelm th esystem and an increase in the number of retirees with heightened healthcare needs, there will be limited or no sources for healthcare services. Access will be a thing of the past; long waits will be the norm. Doctor/patient relationships will be reduced to an assembly line mentality. Ptient satisfaction will be non-existant. But our elected officials will be unmoved and unaffected. Shameful, but reality of the Affordable Care Act.