Blog Archive

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Uncle Sam Wants You! / Residency Shortage





Uncle Sam Wants You! / Residency Shortage


The only way the residency shortage will resolve in a timely fashion depends on YOU!  I mean this literally.  There is a no “One” person who can effect this change before countless fully qualified doctors are “lost”.  It will take a groundswell of voices to bring this travesty to the forefront of our Nation.  We need YOUR VOICE.

 

The solution to the residency shortage will not be linear.  As you have read, some states are creating legislation to “preserve” their unmatched doctors until the number of residency slots catch up.  Some states are increasing their budgets to teaching hospitals to underwrite the addition of residency slots and the beginning of new residency programs.  Some states are allowing other health care professionals to perform services once performed only by doctors.  Some states are still “wallowing” in bureaucratic doldrums.  The solutions are a “little bit of this and a little bit of that”.

 In the meantime, thousands of unmatched doctors are dealing individually with an unimaginable “betrayal” and all that it encompasses (school loans, no career path, and despondency).  They “did” what we told them to do, and we “broke the contract”.  Ultimately, “we” will pay the price for this travesty.  Right when the baby boomers tap into healthcare the most, there will be a doctor shortage.  Forget about “preventative care”.  We will be lucky to get “reactive care” for our healthcare challenges.

 When the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 reduced the reimbursement for residencies, yet increased the number of medical schools, the resulting impact has been devastating.  “We” knew this Act was not perfect at the outset, and changes would have to be made.  Little did we know the “individual” repercussions that would ensue. 

 These unmatched doctors have worked so hard, for so many years, and at such great expense, not to be able to complete the final step in their training.  The “right hand” of Congress definitely did not know what the “left hand” was doing.  We have got to make this RIGHT! 

 
 Only your voices and those of your contacts can effect the “tsunami” needed to bring this solution to the forefront.  Please write, tweet, share, and “demand” a solution now!

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Tuesday, March 7, 2017

A Tsunami of Outrage/ Residency Shortage


A Tsunami of Outrage/ Residency Shortage
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wvXBq9P_hjw

Image result for tidal wave images free 

   Do you remember the outrage that ensued after the 2-3 hour wait times and missed flights that occurred at O’Hare Airport the weekend of May 14, 2016?  Frustrated passengers began tweeting #IHateThe Wait.  US Senator Mark Kirk, IL, called for TSA Administrator, Peter Neffenger, to fix this problem by Memorial Day or step down.  Even the White House weighed in on this travesty. (1)  By May 25th Mr. Neffenger told members of House Homeland Security Committee that the agency was taking measures to resolve this issue.  By May 24th an airline official said that O’Hare’s waits were down to 15 minutes.  That took 10 days to “fix”!

 This outrage is what has to happen to solve the current travesty of the residency shortage.  There are no “normal channels” to solve this crisis.  The Federal government is moving in typical fashion, slowly.  The first legislation introduced was “Resident Physician Shortage Reduction Act of 2011.  It was proposed again in 2013, and again by Senator Bill Nelson, FL, in 2015 (S1148) and by Representative Joseph Crowley (HR 2124) in the House.  Nothing has been passed or implemented at this point.

 This bill would increase the number of residency slots by 15,000 over a 5 year period.  We already have more that 40,000 unmatched graduates right now over the last 5 years alone!  The AMA and the ACGME have not proposed any solutions.  Only a few states have created legislation (generally applicable only to their own citizens). 

 The only glimmer of hope has been the budgetary allocations some states have made.  They have offered financial incentives to hospitals to increase residency slots or add new residencies.  This has had some success.

 Why are we not as outraged as the passengers at O”Hare Airport?  These unmatched doctors have spent more that 4 years of their lives and countless dollars trying to complete their medical training.  But they are deadlocked.  If I were they, I would gladly accept a 3 HOUR security delay in view of their own situations.

 We have to get the “word out”.  We have to tweet, blog, share on facebook, contact healthcare professionals and societies, contact legislators, and yes, even the White House!

 

(1)http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-05-18

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Monday, March 6, 2017

Solve DOC Schortage State by State







Solve DOC Shortage State by State

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YSaPTPzTRyY

 

Until the residency deficit has been resolved, I suggest that each state “preserve” its own doctors.  Currently, the “best numerical candidates” prevail in the residency match (see previous blogs).  That would have to change. 

The tradition of Medical Education is to “reward” the “best” students.  The students with the best GPA, the best test scores, get into the most competitive schools and residencies.  It’s hard to change that mindset.  Every institution wants to attract “the best”.  Any graduate doctor who has passed the requirements of “The Match” already is “the best”.

 I recall the tuition for medical school in South Carolina 5-10 years ago.  Tuition for in-state residents was approximately $50,000/year, and out-of-state $80,000/year.  I remember thinking that if accepted to a South Carolina medical school, a student could get their education, but South Carolina would not be underwriting any part of that cost.  South Carolina would not share in the expense of a doctor’s education, only to have the graduate leave upon graduation.

 Here are the dollars that Florida has allocated to increase the numbers of residencies in the state:

  • 2013, $80 Million for recurring State and Federal funding for Graduate Medical Education (residencies)
  • 2015, additional $100 Million appropriated by Florida Legislators for “Graduate Medical Education Startup Bonus Program”
  • Program “Gives hospitals a one-time $100,000 Bonus for every new residency slot in shortage specialties” (1)
  • The first year 66 new residency positions in seven shortage specialties qualified for the bonus” (1)
  • Florida faces a shortage of 7,000 physician specialists by 2025
As described in a prior blog, Arkansas and Kansas are garnering doctors for their own states.  Their residency solutions apply only to their citizens.  Until the residency deficit is eliminated, I believe that Florida should do the same.  Florida tax dollars are providing the monetary incentives to increase the number of residencies in Florida.  So Florida residents and its unmatched doctors should benefit.  Residency selection in Florida residencies should be skewed toward residents of Florida, not using the traditional numerical ”cutpoints”.  Florida is addressing the residency shortage by allocating tax dollars to increase the number of residencies.  The State of Florida and its doctor grads should benefit from these tax dollars.  These are the doctors who plan to live, work, and stay in Florida.

(1)http://wusfnews.wusf.usf.edu/post/florida-increases-medical-residency-slots-still-faces-doctor-shortages#stream/0

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