The federal Council on Graduate Medical Education has released a report that supports the conclusions of a study conducted at the University of Utah that brought out problems in physician distribution, a U. administrator said.
Both studies also support the U.'s decision to keep enrollment at the medical school at 100."There are significant problems in physician distribution, both geographically and by medical specialty. In a number of Intermountain rural areas, we are short of medical care," said Cecil O. Samuelson, U. vice president for health sciences and a recent member of the council.
Samuelson said four Utah counties - - do not have physicians. In addition, fewer physicians are delivering babies because of increasing legal liability problems, and there is an undersupply of primary care physicians, such as family practitioners, interns and geriatricians.
The study indicates that physician distribution problems may improve as the number of physicians increases, but continued support for federal programs is essential, including loan repayment, preceptorshipsQR in shortage areas and community financial support.
"In the Intermountain area, part of the geographical distribution problem may be that ethnic minorities still are underrepresented in the medical profession," Samuelson said. He added that financial support for ethnic students is lacking.
"Much of the cost for medical resident training is borne by the federal government as part of Medicare reimbursement for patient care. These payments have been reduced recently as part of the effort to control the federal budget, and new sources of funding for graduate medical education are not being developed to replace them," Samuelson said.