Insurers should promote expansion of residencies

In response to concern that there will be a shortage of physicians, the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) recommends a 30 percent increase in U.S. medical school enrollment by 2015. A new report from the AAMC’s Center for Workforce Studies suggests that enrollment is on track to reach that goal, but by 2018, not 2015. This recommendation uses the first year enrollment of 16,488 students in 2002 as a baseline. A 30 percent increase would lead to 21,434 first-year medical students, an increase of 4,946 students per year.

Edward Salsberg, director of the Center for Workforce Studies at the AAMC, encourages the managed care industry to consider the need for clerkship and residency training.

By increasing their involvement in the educational process, health plans can help assure that the future generation of physicians is prepared to work in those settings, says Salsberg.

“Some health plans may be able to facilitate the expansion of residency training — which can be a good recruitment tool,” Salsberg says . If a residency program is well designed, residents are more likely to stay in the facility or setting they were trained in. By giving exposure while training, more residents will be familiar with managed care organizations. “Where a physician trains has a big impact on where he practices after training,” he says.

Medical school enrollment

Of the 125 accredited medical schools surveyed, 104 have increased enrollment since 2002 or plan to increase it by 2014.


©2010 Association of American Medical Colleges. All rights reserved. Reproduced with permission.

8 new med schools expected

Edward Salsberg, director of the Center for Workforce Studies at the AAMC, says the organization surveys medical schools each year about their enrollment plans for the next five years, shown below by a solid line through 2009. “The dotted line is a projection through 2014 based on the survey, further growth based on estimates from new schools in the pipeline, and a projection from the existing schools based on historical growth,” says Salsberg.


Source: Results of the 2009 medical school enrollment survey. Center for Workforce Studies, March 2010