UT and ProMedicaWritten by Autumn Lee | | email@example.com
The dispute between ProMedica and UT mandates comment. I am a former board member and chairman of UT — and now secretary of the Ohio Board of Regents. UT has been and is now one of our community’s most precious assets.
Merging MUO and UT has created an even stronger institution — and has forged some very clear strategic directions — one of which is to be recognized as a transformational force in the ongoing evolution of our regional and national health care system.
A strategy being pursued to attain this goal is to mature their educations, research and clinical relationships with the regional clinical practices and affiliate hospital systems in such a way that their educational programs are protected and nurtured.
In doing that, they have sought to improve the quality, quantity and diversity of their graduate medical educational opportunities in our health care system and in the region — and they have been attempting to enhance the recruitment and retention of their graduates into their graduate medical education programs.
In short, they are trying to graduate competent, well-trained physicians and keep them here in the community.
Recently, a blue-ribbon panel of four experienced and respected graduate medical education leaders presented their report indicating that:
1. Toledo has an aging physician work force. This fact, and the trends in graduate medical education, predict a physician work force shortage in approximately five years of crisis proportion.
2. Retention of medical students in UT’s own graduate medical education program is declining.
3. This crisis will be most severe in subspecialty areas where UT’s graduate medical education programs are the weakest or currently nonexistent.
4. Graduate medical education has a significant impact on health care quality. Quality graduate medical education programs tend to product quality care.
5. Current trends have grave implications for the physician work force as physicians tend to reside and practice where they finish their graduate medical education.
6. Strong lines of evidence suggests that quality, cost and out-migration of care would be favorably affected were UT’s graduate medical education program strengthened.
The blue ribbon panel concluded their report by noting that undergraduate medical education is excellent and improving. The University of Toledo’s College of Medicine recruits students with excellent grades and tests scores who are upon graduation, recruited by excellent graduate medical education programs.
They further noted that graduate medical education programs at UT College of Medicine have not kept pace.
Careful analysis of the weaknesses discloses a recurring theme. The relationships between UT’s College of Medicine and its clinical training sites and hospital partnerships are stressed by intense competition in the health care marketplace.
These troubled relationships are larger than UT itself and therefore constitute a critical community issue.
UT’s College of Medicine must make every effort to recruit students, faculty and residents, to strengthen its programs by attention to detail and to work with its community partners to improve relationships.
This is such a serious and critical matter that the broader community of Toledo and Northwest Ohio must assume an active role regarding graduate medical education in our community. Graduate medical education is a community responsibility.
A community-wide consortium of leaders should be created to oversee graduate medical education in Northwest Ohio. This consortium should confront the issues and the people directly where necessary and move quickly to avert crisis and improve care.
The fundamental charge should be to create an atmosphere in which medical education is held harmless in the competition which characterizes health care delivery today, for the purpose of improving educational quality and averting a physician shortage crisis.
Secretary, Ohio Board of Regents