The coverage of “match day,” when medical school graduates learn if they’ve been accepted into residency programs passed lightly over an issue of high relevance in Arkansas. The insufficient supply of residencies.

I’d heard early in the week that the initial matching process left 18 graduates of of the University of Arkansas College of Medicine without residencies. A second step of the process reduced those with no place to go  to seven, same as last year. They’ll have to figure out something else to do for a year and try again if they hope to practice medicine.


Here’s some relevant information from the Association of American Medical Colleges:


Today is Match Day. The National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) reports that this year’s Match included 34,270 active applicants. There were 26,678 first-year positions offered, an increase of 540 over last year. The NRMP reports that of the total 25,687 applicants who successfully matched to first-year positions, 16,399 were U.S. medical school seniors, with 5.6 percent not matching. The NRMP reports a modest increase in U.S. seniors choosing primary care and 80.8 percent of U.S. seniors and 81.2 percent of independent applicants matched to one of their top three choices.

…. AAMC President and CEO Darrell G. Kirch, M.D., issued a statement on this year’s Match results, expressing concern about the shortage of residency positions. Noting that several hundred U.S. seniors appear not to have matched this year, he said “As a result, with a serious physician shortage looming closer, we remain concerned that the 17-year cap on federal support of new doctor training will impede the necessary growth in residency positions that must occur to ensure that our growing and aging population will receive the care it needs.” 

Yes, it would be nice if the feds provided more money for medical education. I’m sure the House Republicans will dig deep for the dough. Tom Cotton is a free-spender.

The shortage of residencies has relevance even closer to home. Arkansas State University is in process of establishing an osteopathic medical school and a group in Fort Smith is also seeking to establish an osteopathic medical school. They’ll need residencies, too. ASU hopes to turn out about 120 doctors a year.