With all newly insured, people are quickly running into the issue of doctor shortages. Especially primary care doctors. It’s not one of the glamor specialties, but it’s one of the most vital on the front lines of health care. California is looking to address the shortage with a fast track program.

Instead of being able to practice after four years, a new program will allow doctors to begin practicing after three. The American Medical Association is providing seed funding to UC Davis in the form of a five-year grant.

This new program condenses medical school from four years into three. Its curriculum cuts out summer vacations, electives and the residency search. All to field more primary doctors, faster. It also benefits the students in saving them money on the cost of medical school. For the intensity of the three-year course, a medical student can shave off up to $60,000 in debt.

Considering primary doctors is on the low-end of the pay scale tier, this gives a double benefit. The paychecks go further, and the student loan burden is lessened. Texas, Georgia and New York already offer three-year medical schools. The AMA supports these programs as it looks for ways to redesign medical education.

The UC Davis program guarantees a student a residency, removing one of the stressors placed on students. It is also another training step before the student starts to manage patients on their own.

Some may think that reducing the years spent in medical school could lead to a lower standard of care. The AMA has taken great care in ensuring the standards and criteria on which students are judged are the same. The cut-down in number of years is simply an accelerated course. No summers off, and it cuts out the electives.

You get the same quality of doctor in less time. Actually, if they can handle the rigors of the accelerated curriculum, I would be more comfortable with them. Obviously they can handle the stress and the workload if they can pull this off.


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