The need of community health centers for international medical graduates.
OBJECTIVES: This study sought to determine whether community health centers need international medical graduates to fill staff positions. METHODS: The authors surveyed 100 community health center administrators to learn about their perceptions of international medical graduates. RESULTS: Nationally, about one quarter of community health centers depend on international medical graduates to fill physician vacancies; most of these centers foresee unfilled positions in the event of a cutback. CONCLUSIONS: Policies calling for a national reduction in the supply of international medical graduates need to be balanced by an understanding of these individuals' role in reducing local physician shortages. (+info)
International and US medical graduates in US cities.
OBJECTIVES: This study examines the comparative distributions of postresident international medical graduates (IMGs) and US medical graduates (USMGs) in high and low poverty areas of US cities. Existing research has established that IMGs are more likely than USMGs to practice in urban areas, yet there is the question whether IMGs locate more frequently than USMGs in urban poverty areas. METHODS: Data from the 1997 AMA Physician Masterfile and 1990 US Census were merged to classify physicians' practices into low- and high-poverty areas in selected cities. RESULTS: In 14 cities with populations of 2.5 million or more, IMGs were located in a statistically significant disproportion in poverty areas of 7 cities. Of 36 cities with populations of 1,000,000 to 2,499,999, there were 5 cities that had significant IMG disproportions in poverty areas. Of a random sample of 27 cities with populations of 250,000 to 999,999, there were 2 cities that had significant IMG disproportions. Many cities in all three size categories had a large proportionate IMG complement of the total physician workforce located within high-poverty areas. CONCLUSIONS: IMGs were found in disproportionate numbers in poverty areas in a number of US cities, especially the very largest ones. These findings are discussed in light of the current debate about a physician surplus and initiatives to reduce the number of IMGs in residency training. (+info)
Program for licensure for international medical graduates in British Columbia: 7 years' experience.
British Columbia has funded a program for licensure for international medical graduates since 1992, providing 2 entry positions per year for postgraduate training. Each year 25-35 candidates are eligible for the program, 13-16 enter the evaluation process, 4 go on to a clinical evaluation and 2 are offered funding by the Ministry of Health. Other candidates may access community funding if they meet the requirements of the program. Twenty of 26 candidates have successfully completed the postgraduate training and achieved full licensure; 6 are still in training. In this article we describe the development of the program, the evaluation and selection process, characteristics of the candidates and the outcomes of the program. (+info)
Providing after-hours on-call clinical coverage in academic health sciences centres: the Hospital for Sick Children experience.
An increasing number of admissions of patients requiring complex and acute care coupled with a decreasing number of pediatric postgraduate trainees has caused a shortage of house staff available to provide after-hours on-call coverage in the Department of Pediatrics at Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children. The Clinical Assistant program created to deal with this problem was short on staff, did not provide adequate continuity of care and was becoming increasingly unaffordable. The Clinical Departmental Fellowship program was created to address the problem of after-hours clinical coverage. The program is aimed at qualified pediatricians seeking additional clinical or research training in one of the subspecialty divisions in the Department of Pediatrics. We describe the hiring process, job description and evolution of the program since its inception in 1996. This program has been mutually advantageous for the individual fellows and their sponsoring divisions as well as the Department of Pediatrics and the Hospital for Sick Children. We recommend the introduction of similar programs to other academic medical departments facing staff shortages. (+info)
Quality, quantity and distribution of medical education and care: regulation by the private sector or mandate by government?
The public, the federal government and most state governments have become increasingly concerned with the lack of access to primary care as well as the specialty and geographic maldistribution problems. Currently, there is a race in progress between the private sector and the federal government to devise solutions to these problems. In the federal sector, varying pieces of legislation are under active consideration to mandate the correction of specialty and geographic maldistribution; proposals include: 1) setting up federal machinery to regulate the numbers and types of residencies; 2) make obligatory the creation of Departments of Family Practice in each medical school; 3) withdraw current education support from medical schools causing tuition levels to increase substantially--federal student loans would then provide the necessary leverage to obligate the borrower to two years of service in an under-served area in exchange for loan forgiveness. In the private sector, for the first time in the history of the United States, the five major organizations involved in medical care have organized to form the Coordinating Council on Medical Education (CCME) and the Liaison Committee on Graduate Medical Education (LCGME). One of the initial major endeavors of the CCME has been to address itself to the problem of specialty maldistribution. The LCGME has been tooling up to become the accrediting group for residency training thus providing an overview of the quality and quantity of specialty training. It will be the intent of this presentation to bring the membership of the Southern Surgical Association an up-to-date report on these parallel efforts. The author's personal hope is that the private sector can move sufficiently rapidly to set up its own regulatory mechanisms and avert another federally controlled bureaucracy that will forever change the character of the medical profession in the United States. (+info)
Truth-telling and patient diagnoses.
How do physicians handle informing patients of their diagnoses and how much information do patients really want? How do registered nurses view both sides of this question? Three questionnaires were constructed and administered in a mid-size hospital in New York state. Physicians and nurses underestimate the number of patients who want detailed information. Patients who earn more than average, have a college education, and who are under age 60 are more likely to want information, and state that their physician should give it to them. Only 42% of physicians state that patients want a detailed description of their diagnosis and treatment options. Physicians educated outside the USA appeared to be more likely to change their criteria for informing patients and, along with American-educated nurses, were more willing to participate in formal discussions of the issue. Physicians should comply with the wishes of patients for information and include them in the team deciding on diagnosis and treatment. (+info)
Current threats to osteopathic graduate medical education.
The Balanced Budget Act of 1997 and continuing changes put into place by the Educational Commission on Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) are altering the environment for graduate medical education (GME) in ways that threaten osteopathic graduate medical education in particular. Hospital revenue is decreasing due to declines in Medicare GME and patient-care reimbursements. The new 3-year rolling average methodology for counting "house staff" makes it likely that unfilled positions will be eliminated. With osteopathic GME positions unfilled and financial resources decreasing, osteopathic medical programs may shrink further. Additionally, the ECFMG has put into place policies that may restrict the number of international medical graduates entering the United States. Approximately 25% of all allopathic GME positions in the United States are filled by international medical graduates. If this applicant pool decreases, allopathic medical programs may turn to osteopathic medical graduates as the only other available pool of individuals to fill program positions. At a time when allopathic internship positions are already unfilled and 30% of osteopathic medical graduates enter allopathic first-year programs, further inroads by allopathic programs could severely impact osteopathic GME efforts. (+info)
Patient referral differences among specialties.
Data from the Seventh Periodic Survey of Physicians are examined for differences in referral rates among five major medical specialties. Referral rates for each specialty are regressed against physician-related and patient-related predictor variables. On the basis of Freidson's distinction between "colleague-dependent" and "client-dependent" specialties, the hypothesis tested is that physician-related variables explain more of the variance in referral rates of colleague-dependent than of client-dependent specialists. Although this use of Freidson's classification is not strongly supported by the results, the variables found to correlate with referral differences suggest that public policies aimed to increase access to care may produce a reduction in continuity of care as an unintended second-order effect. (+info)