The University of Washington’s plan to double the size of its medical school in Spokane is “clearly the most cost-effective option” to meet the physician workforce needs in Eastern Washington and throughout the state, according to an independent study by research firm Tripp Umbach.
The study also found that Eastern Washington currently cannot support two medical schools because of a lack of capacity in clinics and residency programs. As an established program, the UW School of Medicine has greater capacity to retain students who remain in the region to practice and to grow graduate medical education in Eastern Washington, the study said.
Tripp Umbach’s report provides independent, third-party recommendations to best fulfill the medical education expansion needs in Eastern Washington for the state of Washington.
• The UW School of Medicine provides the most cost-effective way for the state of Washington to provide medical education in order to grow the state’s physician workforce.
• Tripp Umbach believes that developing a new independent medical school in Spokane, which Washington State University proposes, is currently the most expensive option to grow the state’s physician workforce.
• While national data demonstrate that operational impacts from a standalone medical school typically generate more economic impact than regional program expansion, higher operating costs to taxpayers associated with a standalone WSU medical school would negate much of this benefit.
UW School of Medicine return rate to Washington vs. national average
• Eastern Washington cannot feasibly support two medical schools at this time due to limited clinical training and residency training sites.
• The University of Washington has a greater capacity than Washington State University to grow graduate medical education programs in Spokane and Eastern Washington.
• Increasing the number of medical school graduates without increasing the availability for them to remain in-state to complete their residency training would be ineffective in addressing the shortage of physicians within the state.
Medical education in other states
About the firm
Tripp Umbach is a national leader in conducting feasibility analysis and economic impact studies for universities, hospitals, academic medical centers and corporations throughout the United States and internationally, having completed more than 2,000 studies over the past 25 years. During that same time, the firm has completed multiple studies for both the University of Washington and Washington State University.
The Tripp Umbach research team completed eight weeks of research and analysis of each of the programs, as well as the broader community and statewide needs. The team also met with business leaders in the Spokane community to gather impressions and information on the community needs in the area. This study is intended to allow leaders at UW and WSU, as well as multiple health care, education and economic development partners regionally and statewide, to understand impacts and implications associated with both schools’ plans.