The supply of health-care providers isn’t the problem


In his Aug. 18 Washington Forum essay, “Don’t forget health-care supply,” Todd G. Buchholz, arguing for an increased supply of physicians, stated inaccurately that “the United States accredited no new medical schools from 1986 through 2004.” In fact, the American Osteopathic Association accredits 33 osteopathic medical schools, of which five schools were first accredited between 1993 and 2003. Seventeen new osteopathic medical schools have been established since 2004. These medical schools award the doctor of osteopathic medicine degree, and graduating physicians receive the same state license to practice medicine and surgery as physicians who have been awarded a doctor of medicine degree. Moreover, osteopathic medical school graduates account for about 22 percent of all physician graduates.

The real impediment to the supply of physicians is a lack of postgraduate residency training positions. Medicare helps fund the training, but, in 1997, Congress capped the number of positions that Medicare would support. Consequently, postgraduate training positions are not available for all medical school graduates, and these physicians are not able to practice medicine and provide much-needed health care in the United States.

Lynn H. Deutsch, Silver Spring

The writer is a doctor of osteopathy.


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