A pair of bills aim to address the state’s growing doctor shortage, especially on nearby islands, and help the University of Hawaii’s medical school keep more of its graduates practicing in Hawaii. , UH announced Thursday.
Governor David Ige signed Senate Bills 2657 and 2597 into law Thursday at the John A. Burns School of Medicine at UH-Manoa.
“My administration is committed to supporting the development and expansion of quality education and training sites, especially on neighboring islands where we face the greatest challenge,” said Ige.
SB 2657 funds JABSOM’s expansion of medical residency and medical student training opportunities on neighboring islands, and with United States Veterans’ Pacific Islands Health System sites throughout the country. State, especially in areas where health care is most needed.
Currently, some medical students are doing preclinical rotations of up to three months in Lanai, Hawaii Island and, starting this year, Kauai. Third-year students participate in a longitudinal externship program where groups of students train at the same location for a five-month rotation in rural communities. They currently train at multiple locations on Maui, Hawaii Island and Kauai.
The Hawaii Physician Workforce Assessment Project report indicates that Hawaii needs at least 750 physicians, with the largest statewide shortage in primary care specialties, according to a statement from HU press. The proportional need is greatest on neighboring islands, with Maui and Hawaii County experiencing a 40% doctor shortage.
“Data shows that more than 80% of physicians who graduate from both JABSOM and its residency programs tend to stay in Hawaii to practice – this is one of the highest retention rates in the country,” says JABSOM Dean Jerris Hedges.“We know that doctors who train in the rural areas of our neighboring islands are also more likely to put down roots and nurture the communities in which they find themselves.”
SB 2597, meanwhile, allows for more loans under the Hawaii State Loan Repayment Program, which helps graduates of JABSOM and other health care professions reduce their student debt. studies in exchange for their stay in Hawaii to practice.
According to JABSOM Hawaii and Pacific Rim Health Education Center Director Kelley Withy, “83% of people repaying loans stayed in Hawaii to practice, and 70% stayed at the site where they performed their service. Currently, there are 25 active claimants in the program and seven more awaiting funding.
Medical professionals who benefited from the loan repayment program serve on all islands and in the communities of Waimea, Kihei, Waianae, Hilo and Wailuku as well as at the Maui Community Correctional Center, according to the press release.