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The Medical Bottleneck – Residency Shortage & Health Care Reform

Posted by medliorator on April 14, 2010

a number of new medical schools have opened around the country recently. As of last October, four new medical schools enrolled a total of about 190 students, and 12 medical schools raised the enrollment of first-year students by a total of 150 slots, according to the AAMC.

But medical colleges and hospitals warn that these efforts will hit a big bottleneck: There is a shortage of medical resident positions… There are about 110,000 resident positions in the U.S., according to the AAMC. Teaching hospitals rely heavily on Medicare funding to pay for these slots. In 1997, Congress imposed a cap on funding for medical residencies, which hospitals say has increasingly hurt their ability to expand the number of positions.

Doctors’ groups and medical schools had hoped that the new health-care law, passed in March, would increase the number of funded residency slots, but such a provision didn’t make it into the final bill… The law offers sweeteners to encourage more people to enter medical professions, and a 10% Medicare pay boost for primary-care doctors.

The U.S. has 352,908 primary-care doctors now, and the college association estimates that 45,000 more will be needed by 2020. But the number of medical-school students entering family medicine fell more than a quarter between 2002 and 2007.

Medical Schools Can’t Keep Up [WSJ Health]

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One Response to “The Medical Bottleneck – Residency Shortage & Health Care Reform”

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