Despite concerns, first medical school in Idaho gains approval

Idaho will officially have its own private medical school: the Idaho College of Osteopathic Medicine, according to The Salt Lake Tribune.

The new nonprofit medical school, which costs $125 million and will be located in Meridian, will be able to educate up to 150 physicians per year beginning in 2018. It will be next to and affiliated with Idaho State University's Meridian Health Science Center, according to the report.

The announcement was made Feb. 25 by Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter (R), who called the medical school "a golden opportunity for Idaho." Other Idaho officials and medical leaders were also present, including members of the Idaho Osteopathic Physicians Association.

But the Idaho Medical Association — the largest physician group in the state — was not present during the announcement. That's because the IMA wasn't included in discussions about the school, according to Susie Pouliot, CEO of the IMA.

The IMA doesn't exactly support the creation of the school, though, either. The group has a set of criteria by which it evaluates whether it will support medical schools. The criteria include accreditation eligibility and the support of accredited medical residency programs.

But for now, the medical school isn't sure where it would place its students for residencies, which worries the IMA. "Idaho may be poised to become a chief exporter of medical education graduates, because there will not be comparative adequate access to do their residencies in the state," said Ms. Pouliot, according to the report.

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