Thursday, August 28, 2008
THE GUARDIAN attended a service club lunch this past week and the topic of the program was about the need for Docs in Idaho. We have one of the oldest average age levels for doctors at all levels of the medical field in Idaho. They will be hitting the rocking chairs in the very near future. The question is ...What to do and how soon? Think WAMI, Washington, Alaska, Montana, Idaho Medical School Program!
Our program speaker was Dr. Sam Summers and the point he made was the huge cost of funding a medical school in Idaho. It is a cost burden to all state taxpayers that most folks do not fully understand. The short answer is to fund more slots for Idaho student to attend the University of Washington and Utah via the WAMI Program . These two states have indicated that they are willing to accept more students from Idaho but want to be paid for the cost of the services.
The costs charged to Idaho would be the difference between in state and out of state tuition for students accepted into their programs. Students pay the in state tuition and the difference for the out of state tuition is paid by Idaho taxpayers. The cost today is about $50k per year for each student in the program. Idaho gets twenty slots every year at the University of Washinton. This arrangement sounds very reasonable to THE GUARDIAN. The State Legislature holds the votes to make things happen. All we need to do is fund more slots.
Currently, the president of Idaho State University is doing a full court press to get a medical school up and running at ISU. No matter what the cost is to the taxpayers. Cost benifit is not the issue here, it is a few people trying to do a noble thing but at a very high cost to the citizens of Idaho.
We have in past years had significant levels of "one time money" in the state budget surplus. How about putting this money into some kind of a foundation to fund slots for medical students from Idaho. Just a suggestion from a fertile mind..
Posted by Paul Alldredge at 7:33 PM