"Last year, 369 students graduated from Iowa medical schools, but at least 131 of them had to finish their training elsewhere because Iowa had only 238 residency positions available.
The story was the same for at least 186 students who graduated from Missouri medical schools and 200 who studied at Tennessee schools. States such as New York, California, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania were happy to take them -- all four states took in more residents than students they trained.
This is the world of medical resident matching. When states don't have enough residency positions for the medical students they've trained, they become resident exporters. When states have more residency positions than they have students to fill them, they become importers.
Medical students have a strong interest in where they end up. But so do states. Many have a shortage of doctors, especially in primary care. And physicians who go to medical school and do their residency in a single state tend to stay. Sixty-eight percent of doctors who complete all their training in one state end up practicing there, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC).
So while some states spend tens or hundreds of millions of dollars to support medical schools and build new ones, a handful are recognizing that it's just as important to invest in residency programs -- to increase the number of doctors practicing within their borders."
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