Not Enough Doctors Or Not Enough Teaching Hospitals?

Traditionally, medical schools could count on relationships with public hospitals to provide a vast number of uninsured or Medicaid patients, who would be treated by residents and medical students, under the supervision of fully qualified physicians. But, the supply of low-income patients available for medical education is drying up. No one in the profession much likes to admit it, but in many big-city hospitals today the best place to find med students and residents is the lounge or the nurses’ station, not the patients’ ward.

University of Colorado Hospital remains one of the few.

Why is this happening? One reason is that the notion of using poor patients as guinea pigs for med students has come under attack from legislators and physicians who increasingly realize that everyone is entitled to the same level of care regardless of income. But an even more important factor is the continuing revolution in health-care economics. Thanks to changes in Medicaid funding and to hospital …