State Board of Education Considers How to Face Physician Shortage

By Jeff Robinson

The state board of education is meeting in Pocatello to figure out how Idaho can solve it’s doctor shortage.

Everyone agrees something’s got to be done, and right now the board is talking about some of our state’s options.

Consulting firm MGT presented a report that paints a pretty bleak picture of the situation right now.

When compared to other states, we’re ranked next to last or pretty close when it comes to how many medical school seats are available for students, how many residency programs our state has, and how many doctors there are per capita.

Right now, only about 28 medical school seats are available at the Universities of Washington and Utah, and the study showed that to keep pace with Idaho’s growing population, that needs to go up to at least 80.

And 40 percent of our physicians are expected to retire within the next 10 years, making the shortage worse.

The options include increasing those seats and building our own medical school.

Right now, we’re the largest state that doesn’t have one.

The board isn’t taking a vote today, but they do plan on coming up with the best plan and submitting that to the state legislature before the session ends.
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