You may have missed this New York Times story from the other day. For several years, St. George’s University Medical School has been paying New York City’s public hospitals to teach its third- and fourth-year students. Now the school has established a scholarship fund that it will use to try to entice its students to train as primary care physicians and work in the city hospital system.
St. George’s also is offering the public hospitals more money if they will allow more St. George’s students to do their clerkships at those institutions.
So, you say, what’s the problem? It seems that New York City’s medical schools are upset about all this.
Here’s an excerpt from the Times article: “The deal seemed likely to increase friction with the New York City area’s medical schools, which have already complained that St. George’s is squeezing out their own students because it is willing to pay for clinical training. That training has traditionally been perceived as part of the mission of teaching hospitals, to be offered without charge.”
To clarify this. Medical schools like Cornell, Columbia, New York University and Mount Sinai must farm students out to other hospitals because their main medical school hospitals cannot provide enough clinical material for the number of students they have in each class. These venerable schools, with tuitions & fees of nearly $50,000/year, do not pay a single penny to the affiliated hospitals or their teaching physicians. In fact, the hospitals actually pay for the privilege. It’s about the prestige.
We are talking about 50% of a medical student’s tuition over four years. Let’s do some math. Let’s say 150 students at $50,000/year. That’s $7,500,000/year or $15,000,000 for the two years. That does not count the fees that the affiliated hospitals pay the schools.
Note please that this situation is not limited to New York City. To the best of my knowledge, almost all U.S. medical schools have similar arrangements with affiliated hospitals.
A recent editorial in JAMA called for shortening the length of medical school by a year. Somehow I don’t see that happening soon.
Question: Where does that tuition money go?