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Title: Blog by Novelist William S. Frankl, MD

A Tide of New Medical Schools?

There are nearly two dozen medical schools that have just opened or might open across the country, the most since the big increase in the 1960s and ’70s. During the subsequent two decades, only one new medical school was established.

These new schools will allegedly address certain issues in American medicine that have been growing for a quarter century. Many students went to offshore medical schools or gave up the idea of medicine as a career when they could not get into U.S. Medical schools, while at the same time, American hospitals were recruiting foreign trained and foreign born physicians into residency programs.

These new schools are also a market response to a number of demographic, political and social issues: a growing population; the aging of the baby boom generation; the likely up-coming retirement of as many as a third of practicing doctors; and the expectation that changes in health care policy will bring millions of newly insured patients into the American health care system.

At present, there are 125 allopathic medical schools and 26 osteopathic medical schools. If all these new schools actually open, they would increase the number of medical schools by up to 18%, while at the same time, existing schools will likely expand their enrollments.

Is this “good” or “bad?” Probably a little of both. There will be a shortage of physicians of all kinds in the next couple of decades, but the quality of some these new physicians might be suspect.

So, stay tuned. After all, it’s only your health care on the line.

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