KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Medical Schools Are Expanding But Doctors Say Federal Budget Cuts Are Holding Down Number Of Residencies

As educators seek to help fill the large number of physicians needed under the health overhaul, they point out that the number of training programs paid for by the federal government needs to rise too.

The Wall Street Journal: Squeeze Looms For Doctors
U.S. medical schools are expanding to meet an expected need for more doctors due to the federal health law. With at least 12 new schools opening and existing ones growing, enrollment is on track to produce 5,000 more graduates a year by 2019. But medical educators are cautioning that those efforts won't do anything to alleviate a doctor shortage unless the number of medical residency positions rises as well (Beck, 3/14).

The Hill: House Bill Would Create 15K New Residency Positions
A bipartisan House bill reintroduced Thursday would create 15,000 more medical residency positions under Medicare in a move to alleviate the looming U.S. doctor shortage. The measure from Reps. Allyson Schwartz (D-Pa.) and Aaron Schock (R-Ill.) would mandate that 50 percent of the positions train residents in primary care (Viebeck, 3/15).

Meanwhile, other outlets examine some workplace issues for doctors.

Marketplace: From 'God-Like' To Team Huddle: Training Doctors For A New Health Care Future
Later today, 33,000 aspiring doctors will find out where they’ll be doing their residencies for the next three to seven years. In medical circles, they call it "Match Day." In the last few years, doctors and hospitals have begun adapting the on-the-job training residents receive, so they can better succeed in today’s tumultuous health care world. ... Dr. Bob Wachter at the University of California, San Francisco says doctors can no longer just take care of sick people. "I like to say that the doctor of the future has two sick patients. One is the patient they are taking care of. One is the system they are working in," says Wachter.  (Gorenstein, 3/15).

WBUR: Gender Bias In Medicine
Look into any operating room and odds are it’ll be a man wielding the scalpel. Women are making great gains in medicine, but many disciplines and many senior management jobs in the medical world are male-dominated. Consider neurosurgeons and orthopedic surgeons. Fewer than 5 percent of them are female. And it isn't just exclusion. There's a lot of outright hostility. Explicit gender discrimination was alleged in the big $7 million settlement awarded last month to Dr. Carol Warfield against the former chief of surgery at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Then there's money. A study published in 2011 found that women across the entire medical field are paid less and promoted more slowly than their male counterparts. We'll dig into the issues and take a look at changes underway to shift the balance (3/14).

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