In the past decade, more than 50 new medical schools have opened in the United States—a 50% increase in the number of first-year students by 2019, for the 12-year period from 2006 to 2018. To ensure availability of residency positions for these new graduates, there is an ever-increasing need to find new opportunities to expand graduate medical education (GME) offerings.
Financial pressures make it challenging for existing teaching hospitals to respond to this demand because of their cap on Medicare GME reimbursement. However, new teaching hospitals may be eligible for Medicare reimbursement to offset some of the costs associated with teaching. Furthermore, residents are seeking additional experiences in community-based settings. These factors combine to make it the opportune time for historically nonteaching community hospitals to explore the possibility of establishing residency programs, ranging from serving as rotation sites for larger AMCs to establishing their own stand-alone programs.
As hospital leaders contemplate the possibility of GME participation, many questions may arise about the strategic, operational, and financial implications of becoming a teaching hospital. It is important to fully understand the cultural transformation that will take place and the educational and accreditation-related requirements that must be fulfilled.
It typically takes 24 to 36 months to establish a new teaching program. There are many steps that must take place to ensure a successful program, including:
- Understanding the perceived benefits and agreeing on goals of participation and metrics of success.
- Determining medical staff readiness.
- Reviewing operational interdependencies.
- Modeling the financial impact.
- Recruiting program leadership and faculty.
- Designing the curriculum and preparing application materials.
See an overview of the major considerations and implications of becoming a teaching hospital in our webinar “The Nuts and Bolts of Becoming a Teaching Hospital,” which includes a review of typical planning and program development milestones to measure progress.