Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Why America Faces a Doctor Shortage

From the City Journal:
Health outcomes are adversely affected by the shortage. In lower-income areas, which are feeling the impact of too-few physicians already, patients are increasingly being treated by practitioners who attended for-profit medical schools in the Caribbean. These schools, known for their lower standards, are the kinds of institutions that LCME was founded in 1942 to police and prevent. Patients of such doctors tend to have higher mortality rates than those of physicians who attended medical school in the United States. Without the constraints imposed by LCME, more qualified doctors would be available. Medical schools would be free to experiment with ways to increase the supply of well-educated physicians through programs that integrate undergraduate education with medical education or that help accomplished nurses retrain as physicians.

LCME’s accrediting may not even be needed any more. The landscape of medical education in the U.S. has changed dramatically since 1942. Accreditation was necessary to reform substandard medical colleges in an era when such institutions could operate in isolation; that’s not possible today. Internet sites like Yelp, ZocDoc, and HealthGrades have made physician credentials and reputations easier to access and share than ever before. Under such constant scrutiny, it’s hard to imagine how medical schools could drastically lower their standards without anyone knowing. (Read more.)

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