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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (Nov. 6, 2013) – A national panel of osteopathic medical experts released a report this week detailing recommendations for the overhaul of medical education that could proactively address the nation’s imminent physician shortage. Marc B. Hahn, D.O., president and chief executive officer for Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences, served as co-chair for the Blue Ribbon Commission for the Advancement of Osteopathic Medical Education (BRC), the panel that wrote the report.As millions of Americans gain access to health care under the Affordable Care Act and aging baby boomers require increasing levels of care, the physician shortage in the U.S. is projected to reach over 100,000 doctors by 2025. Dr. Hahn said the BRC report calls for sweeping reforms to medical education that could help mitigate the shortage of primary care physicians. Two of the three key recommendations are to increase clinical experience for medical students early in medical school and to advance students from medical school to residency, and residency training to practice, based on readiness rather than years of study.“Providing more clinical experience in a wide range of environments starting in their first year in medical school will provide students a more seamless transition from medical school to graduate medical education,” Dr. Hahn said. “This leads to earlier completion of medical school, which would be determined by a student’s readiness for residency training, rather than number of years of study. Similarly, completion of residency training should be based on a resident physician’s readiness for practice, not just years of training.”The third recommendation is to provide a stronger focus on primary care and preparedness to function in the modern health-care system. “This new pathway will focus on the training of primary care physicians who are team-based and who practice patient-centered care,” Dr. Hahn said.“The Blue Ribbon Commission believes this pathway will reduce the shortage of primary care physicians, particularly in underserved areas, and will also help decrease the debt burden for our medical students,” he said. “These recommendations represent both a disruptive innovation in how we educate medical students and a challenge to our current system of medical education. But, we are adamant that these changes are necessary in order to educate physicians who are ready to address the health-care needs of the 21st century.”Physician shortages already affect patients, particularly in underserved urban and rural areas. According to the BRC report, there was a 30 percent decrease from 2000 to 2010 in the number of medical school graduates entering primary care practice. Today, 60 percent of doctors of osteopathic medicine (D.O.s) practice primary care, and many practice in underserved urban and rural areas. The American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine recently announced an 11 percent increase in new enrollment at the nation’s osteopathic medical schools.“KCUMB is seeing a higher increase in applications than the average of other osteopathic medical schools in the nation. Our applications for the next academic year are 15 percent higher than last year,” Dr. Hahn said. “Our graduates lean toward primary care specialties. In Missouri, 72 percent of our graduates practice in primary care and 40 percent serve in rural and underserved areas of the state.” An analysis of the BRC report, co-authored by Dr. Hahn, can be found in the November issue of Health Affairs, a peer-reviewed journal of health policy and research.About KCUMBKansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences, founded in 1916, is a fully accredited, private university, with a College of Biosciences and a College of Osteopathic Medicine. The College of Osteopathic Medicine is the oldest medical school in Kansas City, Mo., and the largest in the state. It is the second-largest provider of physicians within the states of Missouri and Kansas, with 72 percent practicing in a primary care specialty in Missouri and 69 percent in Kansas. About the Blue Ribbon Commission for the Advancement of Osteopathic Medical EducationThe BRC was a 24-member commission that broadly represented osteopathic medicine and the profession’s practice community, physicians-in-training, professional organizations, medical colleges, accreditation organizations and state medical licensing boards. It was formed in response to the nation’s need for a robust primary care physician workforce. The Commission’s goal was to envision a new model for medical education that will better prepare osteopathic physicians for success in today’s health-care environment.
Category: Faculty, Osteopathic Medicine, General
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