5 things to know about Texas' medical residency shortages

Although medical schools are popping up across Texas, a lack of residency programs is causing many medical students to leave the state permanently, according to the Star-Telegram.

Here are five things to know about the medical residency shortages in Texas.

1. The number of medical schools has been growing since 2009. Lubbock-based Texas Tech University System started a school in El Paso, and the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley will enroll the first class of students at its medical school in the fall. Other universities are looking at creating their own schools. The University of North Texas Health Sciences Center and Texas Christian University, both in Fort Worth, have partnered to open a new medical school by 2018.

2. The influx of medical schools is important for Texas. Not only do medical schools help universities gain research funding, but they also help solve Texas' physician shortage. According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, there were 7,400 medical students and 7,800 residents in Texas in 2014. But the AAMC also found Texas ranked 41st among all states in terms of number of physicians.

3. The cost of medical residency isn't inexpensive. According to Teaching Hospitals of Texas, an industry group, an average residency slot costs a minimum of $100,000 per year.

4. The government is hoping to alleviate the cost of medical residencies. Through Medicare, the federal government pays for a large majority of medical education, but states must also cover some of the cost. Last year, Texas lawmakers created a $300 million endowment for medical education beginning in 2018. But with the increase in medical schools, much of the endowment will have to fund medical schools rather than residencies.

5. Officials are worried the lack of residencies in the state will drive physicians away. "If you have medical school grads and you don't have these residency positions, then you're just really investing in a flow that's going to go somewhere else," said Maureen Milligan, president and CEO of Teaching Hospitals of Texas. "Our concern is the bulk of the residency programs are at risk."

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