My opinion: This has always worried me, especially as a pre-med student. Perhaps this suggests that there are many sides to the doctor shortage, and all must be addressed if it is to be fixed. So far, I've also discussed that medical school have too few spots, and medical residents cannot get their licenses in time. Now there's this. I've heard that some people can go to medical school in foreign countries if they don't get into medical school in America. However, many countries want to make sure their students stay to serve the domestic population. Hence, many foreign medical schools are enticed to reject foreigners, as these students would probably go back home after graduating. Furthermore, it may be more difficult to get into a American residency program if one is applying from a foreign school. This issue may be most easily solved by creating more medical schools and hospitals with residency programs, as already existing hospitals and schools may be too full of students, already. Feel free to comment.
The ‘Yawning’ Chart Med School Students FearMedical school students call this chart the “jaws of death.”
The graph from the Association of American Medical Colleges displays a yawning gap between the increasing number of med school grads looking for residencies and the number of residency slots available to them.
“This is the only time in the history of the U.S. that we are going to see a decrease in practicing physicians,” said Dr. Atul Grover, chief public policy officer of the AAMC, who was speaking on a panel at the American Medical Association’s National Advocacy Conference on Tuesday in Washington, D.C.
Grover said that medical schools have responded to the physician shortage projected by the AMA by increasing admissions, but residency programs have not been able to follow suit.
Graduate medical education, from medical schools to residency programs, is partially subsidized by the government through Medicare, making it vulnerable to cuts to the federal program. Medicare payments cover 21 percent of the cost incurred to train interns and residents, but teaching hospitals absorb the rest. If the scheduled budget cuts from sequestration go into effect next month, some say the physician shortage in the U.S. could go from bad to worse because fewer doctors will complete residency, and thereby, their training.
“It’s a threat — having to go on with our training without knowing if we can complete our career,” said Amy Ho, a third year student at The University Of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas.