NWA Medical Executives, Elected Officials Address Medical Residency Shortage

Talk Business & Politics

SPRINGDALE, Ark. (TB&P) — The shortage of medical residency programs is not just a problem in Northwest Arkansas, it’s a national crisis, according to healthcare workers and execs who convened Monday (Aug. 12) in Springdale to discuss challenges around funding more coveted medical residency slots.

The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) predicts a national shortage of 46,900 to 121,900 physicians by 2032 which includes a shortfall of a minimum of 21,100 primary care doctors, 28,500 specialists and 14,300 surgeons.

The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) hosted the panel discussion to call attention to the impact on Arkansas and discuss funding challenges.

Graduate medical education, or GME, entails the three to seven years of residency training required for licensure. It comes after four years of college and a bachelor’s degree and four years of medical school.

Pearl McElfish, vice chancellor of the Northwest Arkansas campus of UAMS in Fayetteville, said in Arkansas there will be 439 medical school graduates in the next two years. There are just 290 residency slots, which means 150 doctors will have to go out of state to do their residency training.

“We are subsidizing the healthcare workforce for our neighboring states that have more residency slots. We invest in these students for eight years of higher education and then lose them to Texas or some other state because we don’t have enough residency slots,” McElfish said.

“When we don’t keep our doctors, that will become a health care problem in the future.”

To read more, visit Talk Business & Politics.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.