The Idaho College of Osteopathic Medicine will be opening a new med school at Idaho State University – Meridian campus. The first class of 150 students will be accepted in 2018, and tuition is expected to be in the $40,000 range, with preference given to students in Idaho.
Construction of the $32 million, 80,000+ square foot building is scheduled to begin in February of next year.
The osteopathic program will be set up as a private school affiliated with a public university, but licensed separately and operated independently.
Observations & Reservations about the New Program
In an Idaho Statesman article, Dr. Ted Epperly, who runs the Family Medicine Residency of Idaho, says that while the school does have good intentions, it may end up damaging Idaho’s healthcare infrastructure, rather than strengthening it. “Stakeholders could take actions over the next several years to lessen the risk of harm,” he explains. “Doctors must have training in a residency after medical school, and doctors often settle where they do their residency.”
Epperly continues to cite more things “to be aware of,” including the fact that the new program could “deplete resources” from existing Idaho programs – there are only so many “preceptors” available to train students, and by bringing in more students, these trainers will be taken away from the current student population.
Epperly suggests that a new program should have more planning, that more residency programs should be opened first, so that graduates have more in-state residency programs to choose from. “Otherwise,” he says, “it’s like a sieve; they just leak out.”
He also suggests that the state of Idaho create scholarships and loan repayment options, “to both attract new doctors to Idaho and bring back graduates who do out-of-state residencies.”