More med schools, no more doctors

DETROIT - More medical schools may not solve a projected doctor deficit in Michigan, according to Crain's Business Detroit, given a cap on in-state residency program slots.

Oakland, Central Michigan and Western Michigan universities all plan new medical schools, with Oakland prepared to accept students by 2010, Crain's reported. Michigan State University is expanding its programs in Grand Rapids and Detroit.

But while the Michigan State Medical Society has projected a deficit of more than 6,000 physicians in Michigan by 2020, the president of that group told Crain's Business that there should be a study on how to meet that need.

The society is not opposed to any new school, Michael Sandler, MSMS president, told Crain's, but the state should use central planning for future schools. Wayne State University President Jay Noren told Crain's it would make more sense to expand capacity at existing medical schools like Wayne State.

"It is an unjustifiable expenditure when you consider the benefits versus the costs," he said.

The schools at OU, CMU and WMU will be paid for by gifts, philanthropy, tuition and research grants, Crain's reported, while MSU also will use state funding. Existing schools also receive funding through patient care, the article said, but administrators said it takes time for a medical school to break even financially.

How many medical school graduates go on to Michigan residency programs and ultimately become Michigan physicians is also in question, according to Crain's, since the federal government caps the number of slots in those programs and funds them through Medicare. Hospitals can exceed the cap, but only if they pay the salary and expenses, Crain's reported.

Crain's Business Detroit, "Med schools multiplying: More won't solve doc shortage, some say," March 8, 2009

Michigan Privatization Report, "Remediate Tuition Hikes with Contracting," Jan. 16, 2009