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UW calls its med school plan most cost-efficient

Oct. 31, 2014 Updated Fri., Oct. 31, 2014 at 11:55 a.m.

The University of Washington says doubling the size of its physician training program in Spokane is the state’s most cost-effective option for alleviating potential doctor shortages and warns Eastern Washington’s heathcare system would be unable to support two medical schools. The conclusion, reached in a report issued this morning, is in stark contrast to a study by Washington State University last month that argues a new, community-based medical school is the most efficient and least costly approach. “This study supports our expansion plans and validates the success of what we have been doing in Spokane since we began medical instruction in the city in 2008,” UW President Michael K. Young said in prepared remarks. “We are offering the most cost-effective, most feasible, and most immediate answer to the challenge of producing more physicians for the underserved areas of our state. Our commitment to our students in Spokane and to the community is deep, and we intend to continue to serve the region and expand the UW School of Medicine in Spokane.” The study was unveiled this morning in downtown Spokane. The university’s study, conducted by research firm Tripp Umbach, concluded the average cost of medical education per student in the UW program as about $70,000, which is below the national average range of $81,000 to $130,000, and less than the estimated $98,000 per student cost at a stand-alone WSU medical school. WSU said it welcomes the UW commitment to expanded physician training in Spokane but stood by its position that the state has produced too few for so long that a second public medical school is needed to meet the demand. “Many communities are facing a crisis regarding access to healthcare because we do not have enough doctors,” WSU President Elson Floyd said in prepared remarks. “While we welcome the University of Washington’s announcement today about their intention to address part of this shortfall, it is simply not enough.” The two universities parted ways earlier this month over the shared five-state physician training program in Spokane known as WWAMI to battle it out in the Legislature over their competing visions of how best to train more physicians for Washington, particularly for underserved rural areas.
This is a developing news story and will be updated throughout the day as new information becomes available.
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