Medical schools have been plagued by problems with academic standards, faculty diversity and, in some cases, their ability to recruit, according to a new report.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released a report Monday that found more than one-third of medical schools had academic standards in need of improvement, with one-quarter failing to recruit and hire the right people.
A full 72 percent of medical students surveyed reported that they had not received a single offer of full-time employment or a contract offer, according the CMS report, which was conducted by a team led by the Georgetown University Medical Center.
More than half of medical school students said that they were dissatisfied with their education, and only 24 percent said they had a good or fair grade.
The report also found that students at medical schools have less time to pursue research and clinical training than other medical schools, and the shortage of doctors and nurses has made it harder for doctors to provide care in rural areas.
More: Here’s what to know about the report The report comes as Congress is considering legislation that would force colleges and universities to set up pay-for-performance programs to help improve the academic standards of medical programs.
The House of Representatives on Monday also passed a bill that would create a National Institutes of Health-funded program to help states train and recruit physicians, nurses and other medical professionals.
The White House has pledged to sign the bill, but the bill is likely to be blocked in the Senate.
The bill would require colleges to train and retain more doctors and doctors of medicine, but it would not require them to pay for training.
“Medical schools should be able to hire and retain the doctors they need and that will be the case regardless of where they are in the country,” said Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., who sponsored the bill.
The CMS report also showed that more than 80 percent of schools had problems with recruitment and retention of doctors, nurses, students and other employees, with some schools failing to hire at least 50 percent of applicants.
Only 12 percent of programs that were accredited by the accrediting body had an overall retention rate of at least 90 percent, according a ranking by the report.
A large portion of medical colleges and medical schools also had problems recruiting faculty members, including the largest share of those in public institutions, the CMS reported.
A quarter of medical education programs said they lacked qualified staff, compared to just 10 percent for public schools.
About 25 percent of public medical schools were rated “low in effectiveness,” meaning they were unable to meet their graduation and retention goals.
“We are in an unprecedented moment in our nation’s history,” said Rep. Keith Ellison, D, Minnesota, a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.
“It is a crisis of educational opportunity.”
The report’s authors noted that there were a number of reasons why medical schools lacked qualified faculty, including insufficient funding for training and an inability to hire full- and part-time faculty, among other issues.
“Some schools have high student numbers, but not enough faculty,” the authors said.
“Schools are facing financial pressures from state budget cuts, and medical education is a very critical area of the economy.”
The CMS researchers also said that the shortage and lack of quality in medical schools was a major reason why so many students were unable or unwilling to go to medical school.
“The challenge is to make the right hire, even if that means recruiting the right faculty,” said Dr. Michael J. Wansink, director of the Center for Medical Education and Research at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.