Advertisement
3-Year Medical Degrees for PCPs?

3-Year Medical Degrees for PCPs?

More medical schools are turning to a 3-year solution to hedge against the looming primary care physician (PCP) shortage, offering an accelerated program and major savings to future primary care doctors. The American Association of Medical College Center for Workforce Studies estimates the country will need 45,000 more PCPs and 46,000 more surgeons and medical specialists within the next decade. A recent post by our guest blogger, Skeptical Scalpel, questions the benefit of a fourth year in medical school entirely in a related blog, Law School Revamps Final Year, Will Med Schools Follow? One of the roadblocks to careers in primary care is a skyrocketing medical education debt, followed by inferior pay. Georgia’s Mercer University School of Medicine launched an accredited 3-year accelerated program for students committed to family medicine in hopes of addressing these deterrents. Mercer, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM) and Texas Tech all used similar strategies to consolidate their curricula, cutting most of the fourth year rotations. Supporters of the 3-year program also propose teaching core science courses during undergraduate years. Robert Pallay, residency director and chair of family medicine at Mercer notes the financial rewards of a condense schedule. He says students “pay one year less of tuition, which saves $40,000 to $50,000,” he says. “They get out a year earlier, so rather than making $50,000 as a resident, they [may] end up earning $200,000-plus as a regular doctor.” Gaining traction, the 3-year primary care programs are also being planned for East Tennessee, Indian, University of Wisconsin, East Carolina, and Kentucky. Arguments against it? There are plenty. Some opponents to the idea argue...
Retirement Decisions & Workforce Implications in Anesthesiology

Retirement Decisions & Workforce Implications in Anesthesiology

Anesthesiology is one of 21 medical specialties in the United States that is currently experiencing a physician shortage or expected to have one in the near future. The causes of physician workforce shortages are multifactorial and include the aging physician population, burdensome debt from medical school, a static production of new physicians, and reduced physician work hours, among others. Expectations for work–life balance, hours spent at work, a culture involving high stress, and burnout are other key contributors to physician shortages. “It’s important to increase our understanding of the issues contributing to the physician shortage in anesthesiology,” says Fredrick K. Orkin, MD, MBA, SM. “By identifying practice patterns and retirement plans of older anesthesiologists, we can use this information to guide how we manage consequences resulting from the undersupply of these specialists. These data could also be used by physicians and their employers to prepare for shortages in the future.” Analyzing Trends in Retirement A study published in Anesthesiology by Dr. Orkin and colleagues surveyed thousands of anesthesiologists and other specialists aged 50 and older to determine trends in work activities, professional satisfaction, health and financial status, and retirement plans and perspectives. The goals included identifying the major factors influencing decisions to continue practicing or to retire and evaluating the impact of retirement decision making on the size of the current and future workforce. Several important findings emerged from the study by Dr. Orkin and colleagues. First, older physicians logged significantly more hours of work during the week than other professionals. On average, older anesthesiologists and other older physicians worked about the same number of hours per week (49.4),...

Is the Impending Physician Shortage Real?

It’s crunch time for radiologists. The New York Times reported that an osteopathic radiology residency in the Bronx was abruptly terminated (the decision was later reversed for this year), casting its 12 residents adrift. The article focused on the hospital’s plan to cash in on the primary care mini-boom that is allegedly taking place. The article says the demand for radiologists is sharply down due to “deep Medicare cuts, cut-rate competition driven by technology, doubts about the health value of many tests and procedures, and new measures to tilt public money to primary care.” A few years ago, the demand for radiologists was high, and the supply was limited by the 1997 Medicare cap on expansion of residency programs. This led to the establishment of services that offered remote radiology interpretation, known as “nighthawks,” for many hospitals that lacked enough local radiologists. Images were sent to groups of US or offshore radiologists who efficiently read them while maintaining quality. What the article didn’t mention was that even hospitals with adequate in-house radiology coverage started using the nighthawks when the hospital-based radiologists decided they didn’t want to take calls at night or on weekends. Now hospitals are apparently realizing that, with a few exceptions like interventional radiology, they don’t need the more expensive local radiologists at all. Another factor in the Bronx hospital’s proposal to eliminate their radiology training program is that they wanted to completely outsource their radiology service. That would have made it impossible to train residents unless they moved to India or Australia. So this is what happened when radiologists got a little too comfortable. The next...

Business of Medicine Update

Physician’s Weekly is proud to present this monograph on the business of medicine. Created with the assistance of key opinion leaders and experts in the field, these features explore the challenges and opportunities occurring in an evolving healthcare environment. Physician’s Weekly will continue to feature topics that affect medical professionals beyond the realm of patient care in upcoming months. We welcome your feedback and opinions. Please send comments to keithd@physweekly.com. Thanks for...

Law School Applications Down; Are Med Schools Next?

The number of people applying to law schools is in steep decline. So says a recent post on a website called “The National Jurist.” The post cited some remarkable data from the American Bar Association. In 2012, law school applicant numbers were down 14% from 2011 and 23% from 2010. For the fall of 2012, there were 44,481 first-year law students enrolled, down about 4,000 from 2010. Many schools have decreased enrollments, with more than 90 trimming class sizes by more than 10%. On January 2, the Wall Street Journal reported: “The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the economy will provide 21,880 new jobs for lawyers annually between 2010 and 2020; law schools since 2010, however, have produced more than 44,000 graduates each year.” For the non-math majors, that’s a ratio of more than two graduates for every job. There are way too many lawyers around anyway. Could something like this happen in medicine? It might not be exactly the same, but an interesting dilemma is looming. A 2011 paper in the New England Journal of Medicine expressed concern that in a couple of years, the number of US medical school graduates will exceed the number of first-year residency training positions available. In response to projected physician shortages, many medical schools have expanded their class sizes, and several new medical schools have opened or are soon to open. But the problem is that many years ago, the federal government established a cap on the number of residency training positions in this country. And there are persistent rumors that spending on graduate medical education (GME) will be among the many future...
Page 1 of 3123
[ HIDE/SHOW ]