*Story updated 12:55 p.m. 10/31/14 to include response from WSU President Elson Floyd.
Eastern Washington can’t support two medical schools because of a lack of capacity in clinics and residency programs, says a study released this morning by the University of Washington.
The study, which UW commissioned Pittsburgh-based Tripp Umbach to undertake, also says UW’s plans to double the number of medical-school students in Spokane is “clearly the most cost-effective option” to meet physician workforce needs.
The report states, “As an established program, UW School of Medicine has greater capacity than (Washington State University) to grow in Spokane and can quickly expand to meet the state’s physician workforce needs.”
The report cites the average cost of medical education per student in the UW program as about $70,000, lower than an estimated cost of $98,000 per student at a stand-alone WSU medical school.
The study’s findings run counter to a feasibility study commissioned by WSU earlier this year that called for creation of new medical school in Spokane.
In response to UW's report, WSU President Elson Floyd issued the following statement: "For too long Washington State has produced too few physicians to meet the needs of our state. As a result, many communities are facing a crisis regarding access to healthcare because we do not have enough doctors. While we welcome the University of Washington’s announcement today about their intention to address part of this shortfall, it is simply not enough. While we support the expansion of WWAMI, we believe we must also pursue a new medical school at Washington State University. Only by doing both can we serve the people of Washington appropriately."
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