What Am I Missing? by Pat Conrad MD

Immigration and travel bans are the big new items this week, and CNN has dutifully trotted out a physician-rehab specialist, Dr. Ford Vox. Far removed from the myth of physicians making hard choices, Dr. Vox continues in the simpering, self-interested vein of doctor-whiners who believe society should be skewed to their narrow professional desires. Vox tells us that the travel ban “is a blunt instrument that’s already wreaking havoc and the impact is already being disproportionately felt in American health care.”

So Vox is a doc that wants to preach politics and is merely a partisan writing a political op-ed masquerading as a health info piece. Believe me, I can do the same, but that is not our purpose here. What really caught my interest is the stated reason as to WHY we need so many foreign doctors here.

“Our training hospitals posted job listings for 27,860 new medical graduates last year alone, but American medical schools only put out 18,668 graduates.”

With the aging of the Boomers predicted for decades now, why is there still a relative shortage of graduates?

“Even with our current influx of international physicians as well as steadily growing domestic medical school spots, the Association of American Medical Colleges estimates that we’ll be short by up to 94,700 doctors by 2025.”

Again, why the shortage? I get why someone from a country where AK-47’s are more common than toilet paper would find this a relatively attractive setting. And if you make the equivalent of $20 a day in the Peoples’ Republic of OhShitistan, then a hospital administrator ripping you off at $80 K a year still seems like a windfall.

Why haven’t U.S. medical schools ramped up to meet the increasing demand? They all blame the lack of government funding, but can that really be the answer, given the rise of tuitions and truckloads of private grants and Big Pharma cash dumped into the teaching institutions? Haven’t more and more U.S. students been clamoring to become doctors?

And why- please forgive the obvious lack of tolerant inclusiveness and diversity celebration here – why aren’t more actual Americans beating down the doors and filling all of the medical school and residency slots ahead of the foreign applicants? Isn’t this a highly attractive field for bright, hard charging natives? What am I missing?

Douglas Farrago MD

Douglas Farrago MD is a full-time practicing family doc in Forest, Va. He started Forest Direct Primary Care where he takes no insurance and bills patients a monthly fee. He is board certified in the specialty of Family Practice. He is the inventor of a product called the Knee Saver which is currently in the Baseball Hall of Fame. The Knee Saver and its knock-offs are worn by many major league baseball catchers. He is also the inventor of the CryoHelmet used by athletes for head injuries as well as migraine sufferers. Dr. Farrago is the author of four books, two of which are the top two most popular DPC books. From 2001 – 2011, Dr. Farrago was the editor and creator of the Placebo Journal which ran for 10 full years. Described as the Mad Magazine for doctors, he and the Placebo Journal were featured in the Washington Post, US News and World Report, the AP, and the NY Times. Dr. Farrago is also the editor of the blog Authentic Medicine which was born out of concern about where the direction of healthcare is heading and the belief that the wrong people are in charge. This blog has been going daily for more than 15 years Article about Dr. Farrago in Doximity Email Dr. Farrago – [email protected] 

  5 comments for “What Am I Missing? by Pat Conrad MD

  1. Judy Harvey MD
    February 7, 2017 at 4:28 pm

    $300K worth of debt and administrators who feel physicians are overpaid technicians who need a whip cracked over them. EMRs that require an additional 4 hours of work a day to adequately document 7 hours of work. Physicians are too bogged down in documentation and meaningless abuse to be politically active. Of course we tell our children to go into IT rather than medicine.

  2. David Fitzpatrick
    February 3, 2017 at 7:47 am

    Um, well the majority of us BEG our kids to NOT go into medicine. Some are listening.

  3. AR
    February 1, 2017 at 5:01 pm

    Medical schools have increased enrollment starting around 2006 after the AAMC report. The freeze is at the level of federal support for residency slots. The freeze started in the 1990s, so while the population has grown, the number of training slots has not. I have heard the new congress is looking at increasing the residency slots, will see what happens.

  4. Frank Savoretti, JD, MD
    February 1, 2017 at 7:43 am

    Dear Doug,
    Love your blog and read it faithfully every week but there is definitely no shortage of physicians in the USA. The numbers quoted are for MD graduates of American Medical Schools. They frequently forget to mention all the Doctors of Osteopathy. The DO schools have expanded rapidly.

    There is a shortage of physicians for POORLY INSURED or UNINSURED patients, ie Medicaid, Medicare, ie GOVERNMENT Insured patients.

    Well insured patients can get a new doctor in a heartbeat. I declined to renew a patient’s Vicodin a few days ago. Transfer of Records request arrived by fax the very next day from another Primary Care Doctor. The patient had Blue Cross Blue Shield Health Insurance.

  5. HJR
    February 1, 2017 at 7:25 am

    You’re not missing anything.

    You, of course, realize that the whole graduate medical education system is a cartel.

    And cartels hate having their rackets messed with.

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