UC-Riverside Offers Full-Ride Scholarships To Curb Doctor Shortage

TOPIC ALERT:

In an effort to curb the state's physician shortage, one California university is offering full scholarships to certain medical students who agree to practice primary care in the surrounding community for five years after graduation, CBS News reports (Tracy, CBS News, 11/29).

Background on Physician Shortage

Only 16 of the state's 58 counties have the supply of physicians recommended by the federal government, according to observers.

In addition, the Association of American Medical Colleges says that nearly 30% of California's doctors are nearing retirement age (California Healthline, 8/12).

According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, only about one-third of active physicians in California practice primary care.

Meanwhile, observers say that the shortage of physicians could increase under the Affordable Care Act, which will offer health insurance to millions of additional state residents (California Healthline, 7/24).

Details of Scholarship Program

The UC-Riverside Medical School is offering full-ride scholarships -- funded by donations the university has received -- to five students who agree to practice in the region.

The scholarships will go to students who choose primary care over other, more lucrative specialties.

However, Richard Olds -- dean of the medical school -- said the university's Inland Empire community likely will have a shortage of 5,000 to 6,000 doctors in a decade "no matter what anyone does" because 40% of the area's physicians will retire in that time.

Meanwhile, about 300,000 residents in the area are expected to gain health coverage through the ACA (CBS News, 11/29).


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