Friday, February 24, 2012

Things Are Out Of Whack

Remember that only 50% of the graduates of the University of Nevada Medical School practice medicine in Nevada.  The state gets a much better deal out of its Law School.  Tuition at the UNLV Law School is $23,900 per year or $71,700 for the three years necessary to graduate.  State general funding for the Medical School is $126,714 per year, or $506,856 for four years.  State funding for the Law School is $14,602 per year or $43,806 for three years. 

While 50% of the Medical School graduates leave the state after graduation, never to return, 86.5% of the Law School graduates stay in Nevada to practice law.  How did things ever get so out of balance?

I know that medical doctors are very smart, hardworking and dedicated individuals.  The doctors who have graduated from the School of Medicine are first-class doctors.  I have no quarrel with the product of the Medical School but in producing doctors in a state that doesn’t want to pay for anything, how can Nevada justify the School of Medicine costs ($506,856) per student for four years, while the state pays $10,000 to educate a teacher?  Things are out of whack.


  1. Jim,

    I attended the Regents Town Hall at CSN yesterday and asked if the System would continue to pursue equity funding for CSN in the new funding formula. The answer was no, CSN will be adequately funded for its needs, but there will be no extra dollars to make up for the years of under funding.

    In the proposed funding formula, universities will get extra dollars for their research mission and rural schools will get extra funds for their large service areas, but nothing for remediation at the largest NSHE institution.

  2. Your statistic of 50% of grads leave the state after graduation must be looked at through this light: It is required for graduates to complete a residency in their desired field before they can practice without restrictions. The matter of the fact is that Nevada does not have residency programs in many of the desired specialties: orthopedics, anesthesia, radiology. The statistic that should be looked at is when UNSOM grads complete their residencies elsewhere, how many of them return. I have interacted with many physicians who returned to the state once completing their residencies.

    It is incredibly expensive and time consuming to establish a residency program that means accreditation standards and which have outstanding teaching faculty. It is also difficult to establish these new residency programs in specific fields when that field is already saturated with private physicians and groups, as in Las Vegas. If we want more programs to be established in Las Vegas, the dysfunctional governance of UMC must be addressed. UMC will never be attractive or competitive for residency programs without an EMR system, and with other valley hospitals siphoning off paying and insured patients, leaving the uninsured and Medicare patients to come to UMC.

    1. You’re absolutely right. Nevada has 9 residency programs. Arizona, New Mexico and Utah all have over 50. The small number of residencies explain why 50% of the graduate students leave. However, the low number of Nevada residencies doesn’t justify the spending of $500K on each medical student when going in we know that only 50% will stay in Nevada.