Friday, February 19, 2016

Citing rural doctor shortages, U. of Ky. will create satellite medical school, expand program in east

Citing doctor shortages in rural areas, the University of Kentucky is starting a satellite medical school in Bowling Green, expanding its medical-education program in Morehead and adding the Ashland hospital to it. UK will partner with Western Kentucky University and The Medical Center at Bowling Green and continue its collaboration with Morehead State University and St. Claire Regional Medical Center in Morehead, UK President Eli Capilouto announced Thursday.

"The Commonwealth of Kentucky has a shortage of physicians, and especially primary care physicians, throughout the state, but particularly in rural areas," Capilouto said. "This is an acute health-care need and an economic one as well."

For several years, UK and Morehead have had a program in which 32 students have completed their "third and fourth years of medical training with rural-centered clinical experiences primarily at St. Claire," a UK news release noted. That will now expand to King's Daughters Hospital in Ashland. The new programs could start as early as 2018. details are still being worked out, the release said.

Laura Ungar of The Courier-Journal notes that according to the American Association of Medical Colleges, Kentucky had "225.1 active physicians per 100,000 people in 2014, ranking the state 36th in the nation. These shortages reflect a national issue. "AAMC expects the nation will face a shortage of 46,000 to 90,000 doctors by 2025 – even as the U.S. population grows by 31 million and the number of Americans over 65 goes up 46 percent. Compounding matters, more than a quarter of active physicians nationally are 60 or older and likely to retire soon. Seeing these trends, the association in 2006 called for expanding the number of medical school graduates by 30 percent. A January report in The American Journal of the Medical Sciences said medical schools have so far increased enrollment by 23 percent."

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