Op-ed response: Why Montana shouldn't build a private medical school

Lawrence K. Pettit, PhD, recently responded to Montana Sen. Llew Jones (R)'s op-ed in the Independent Record.

In Sen. Jones' Dec. 30 op-ed, he advocated for Montanans to consider how a private medical center could aid Montana's physician shortage.

However, Dr. Pettit disagrees. "True, Montana has a shortage of general practitioners, as does the nation, and as does the world," he wrote in a response op-ed for the Independent Record. "But inviting a parody of an academic institution into the state is not the logical answer."

Sen. Jones compares the potential private medical school in Montana to other private medical schools, such as Cambridge, Mass.-based Harvard and New Haven, Conn.-based Yale. But here again, Dr. Pettit disagrees. He said the senator "gratuitously conflates 'private,' as in Harvard and Yale, with 'for profit,' as in what he's really talking about." He continued: "The senator is referring to schools that are established to make a profit. Their mission is not conferring quality education, but returning maximum profit to their investors," he wrote.

Dr. Pettit also discusses the harm in putting the private medical school near Bozeman-based Montana State University, as it could take away resources from other sources of public higher education in the state.

More articles on integration and physician issues:
NY to launch Alzheimer's caregiver collaborative
Op-ed: Why Montana should consider building a private medical school
Albany Medical Center, Columbia Memorial finalize partnership agreement 

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