Considering physician shortages, the Utah State Legislature should approve SB42, allowing the University of Utah to increase the medical school class size. The university originally offered 102 slots per year, but was forced to cut 20 due to a lack of funding from the Legislature in 2008. This translates to a loss of 80 graduating physicians in four years, and with two-thirds of graduates staying in Utah to practice, we as a state are losing valuable healthcare resources every year.
Unfortunately, this isn't an issue to address in a decade or two: it's a concern right now. Currently, only three states have fewer primary care physicians per capita than Utah, and with a projected shortage of 91,500 physicians in the U.S. by 2020, we are sorely understaffed in areas of primary care as a nation. Utah, with fewer graduating physicians per year, is competing for the largest shortage of physicians per capita in the U.S.
An investment in medical education by restoring the medical school class size is an investment in Utah families and the future health and viability of our state. Invest in health education, invest in Utah's future and urge your legislators to approve SB42.
Daryl S. McLaren
Salt Lake City
Copyright 2015, Deseret News Publishing Company