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Med Schools Boost Enrollment, But Residency Slots Threatened

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, May 4, 2012

The 125 medical schools that were accredited as of 2002 will account for 58% of the projected 2002-2016 growth in enrollment, 25% will occur in schools accredited since 2002, and 17% will come from schools that have yet to be accredited, the survey found. While some of these increases happened during the economic downturn of the past few years, 52% of the medical schools responding to the survey expressed concerns about their ability to maintain or increase enrollment due to the economic environment.

"We have to keep in mind that teaching hospitals now without any federal support at all fund 10,000 training positions. The likelihood of seeing those slots disappearing first is very real. And if there are fewer and fewer training opportunities, you might see fewer and fewer talented young people thinking about a career in medicine," Mitchell says.

AAMC has estimated that the United States faces a shortage of more than 90,000 primary care and specialty doctors by 2020 to treat a growing population that includes an aging Baby Boomer generation. In addition, if the Affordable Care Act survives a constitutional challenge, an additional 32 million Americans would be covered by health insurance.

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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.