Because Maine does not offer enough residency positions for the medical students we train, some medical students have to move out of state to complete their training.
The Pew Charitable Trust recently analyzed each state’s number of medical residencies compared to the number of medical school graduates. What they found were big discrepancies for some states.
While Maine loses a handful of medical students, our numbers are small compared to some Southern and Midwestern states such as Iowa or Missouri, which lose hundreds of medical students.
It could be a problem because where a medical student completes his or her residency influences where he or she will stay and practice medicine. Sixty-eight percent of doctors who complete all their training in one state will stay in that state, the Association American of Medical Colleges said in the Pew report.
Our lack of residencies don’t seem to lead to a lack of physicians, though. Maine is one of the best states in the country when ranked by the number of physicians per residents.
In 2011 (pictured above), Maine, like all of New England and most of the Mid-Atlantic states, had the highest ratios in the country of physicians to residents.
Residencies are funded by Medicare, the state, medical schools and hospitals. Finding money to cover more residencies, especially in the right geographic areas or specialties, can be challenging, according to the report.
To see how other states compare to Maine and the rest of the country, and why this is an issue, read the report on Pew’s website.