State of Louisiana in need of more doctors, new medical school will help that need and add more opportunities for students
LAFAYETE (KADN) — State Treasurer John Kennedy was in Lafayette today at City Hall a part of a special meeting about the possibility of establishing a medical school in Lafayette. Louisiana has a huge physician shortage, particularly primary care physicians. There are over one million people in the state that live in rural areas with no access to health care, and more doctors in Louisiana are over the age of sixty than under the age of forty. Officials say because of the existing infrastructure in Lafayette and faculty already here, building a medical school can be done a lot cheaper than anywhere else in the state. Although it would benefit the entire state of Louisiana it would be tremendous for Lafayette.
"It would mean a lot for the state, but for Lafayette, oh gosh. I mean the status, the additional physicians, the enhancement at UL, let me count the ways I mean it would be huge," says John Kennedy, Louisiana State Treasurer.
Statistics show that sixty percent of physicians stay within a one-hundred mile radius of where they go to med school and do their residency. Treasurer Kennedy says this will not take away from the three med schools already in Louisiana, but add to them. He says the state has the students. Last year the three med schools were able to fill 350 to 400 slots, and there were over 14,000 applications. Today was just the first meeting establishing that we have the need, it would serve the entire state, and it can be done if there is political will. The major challenge is going to be finding a way to fund it.