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In and outs of the political campaigns, focusing on Michigan and Lansing, Tim Skubick will report regularly throughout the primary and then general election campaigns.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Is There a Doctor In the House?

     As the beloved news media gets ready to exploit another round of the Swine flu story, a debate is unfolding over building more medical schools to produce more physicians to fight it and other diseases.
     The latest entrant is Central Michigan University.
      It's a free country and if CMU wants to peruse this, they have every right.  But while the country is free, med schools are not and last time anybody checked, the state is not exactly flush in bucks.
      The ultimate question is:  Is this a necessity or a luxury?
      There is a projected shortage of doctors but the state already has three med schools at MSU, the U of M, and Wayne State and has one more ready to come on line at Oakland Universit y and the Broncos at Western Michigan want a piece of the action, too.
      Why stop there?  What about the Uppers?  No med school in the Upper Peninsula.  What about Alpena?  There's nothing for the thumb. And no school in Ludington on the other side of the state either.
     You get the point.  Where does it end and at what cost?
      There are several issues underneath all this.  First every university lusts for a med school because it adds to the school's  prestige which adds to its fund raising prowess.  Second, we are talking about convenience here.  Let's be honest if a kid in Alpena wants to be a doctor, he or she can get on U.S. 23, which ends up in Ann Arbor; they don't need one in their backyard.
      This has not reached critical mass in the legislature as of yet, but it will and what will the politicians say? The ones from the central Michigan region will side with Central Michigan and the loyalists from the Big Three schools will seek to block the competition.  And in the midst of the worse economy the state has ever seen, we will have a debate over pouring more money into yet another med school.
     Which proves once more that that word "No" is the least used word in this town.


Blogger Dean Woodbeck said...

This is a good argument for some type of coordinating board in Michigan. The universities, and their mouthpiece the Presidents Council, love to tout their independence. So everyone wants to teach engineering (very expensive), even when the number of interested students is flat. Having six medical schools in Michigan makes no sense. If we need to educate more doctors, it seems it would be less expensive to add a couple of faculty members at an existing program

August 12, 2009 at 6:10 AM 

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