Virginia Struggles to Retain its Doctors

September 16, 2010

A recent study found Virginia retains only 35 percent of its medical school graduates and ranks 31st among other states in retaining doctors.

In 2008, Virginia spent over $50 million from the general fund to support medical education and had nearly 600 new physicians graduate from Virginia's four medical schools.

Despite this, Virginia struggles to retain its medical graduates, with under 25 percent of Virginia's physicians graduating from medical schools in the Commonwealth.

Professor Dr. David Cockley from the Health and Human Services Department at James Madison University believes this could have a long term impact on the Commonwealth.

Especially with health care reform passing in Washington earlier this year.

Dr. Cockley says, "If more people have insurance, will that mean more people go to the doctor? I think that's true, but they aren't necessarily going to go to the specialty doctors. They are going to go, and be encouraged to go to the primary care doctors. And that's where the real shortage in doctors is out there."

A press conference will be held at 2 p.m. Thursday, that will outline workforce trends among Virginia doctors and how the state hopes to find solutions at Virginia's medical schools.

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