MDAdvantage CEO on the New Role of Physician Assistants
As part of our Future of Healthcare series, Steve Adubato goes One-on-One with Patricia Costante, Chairman and CEO, MDAdvantage, to discuss the need for more physicians in the state today, the importance of scholarships to help alleviate the cost of medical school and how physicians assistants will play a significant role in the future of healthcare.
"Steve Adubato here with Patricia Costante who is the CEO, the chair, of MD Advantage. Part of our series on the future of healthcare... with a particular focus on medical education. Which is an area that you and your colleagues have focused on for more than a few years? Yes. We're very supportive of providing scholarships for students and both medical students and healthcare students, and we do that through our EJI Excellence In Medicine Awards. I think everyone knows that the cost of a medical education is staggering. And so, anything we can do to help with that is what we want to be about. In fact, there are... to fully disclose, I've been co-host at the event... that event with Patricia for more than a couple years. There are scholarships every year that the students win, they have to compete for them... those scholarships are a big part of dealing with the cost of medical education? They are. I think for any student that you talk to, they're looking for some combination of scholarship support and loan support in order to be able to complete their education, and I am always staggered to hear students talk about, "I finished medical school... $250,000 in debt... $300,000 in debt..." and when you think about that in terms of the fact that medicine is not necessarily as lucrative as it once was. That's a staggering amount of debt. But Patricia, stay on that. What potential impact... I mean, connect medical education to the decisions that future physicians make as to what they go into and what they don't. Could it, potentially, that cost, 200 grand, 250 plus... could it potentially affect the decisions that the physicians make as to what fields they go into, and which ones they don't, and what people need? It enormously affects their decisions and one of the biases we have when we look at candidates for the scholarship is people who are interested in primary care medicine. We need internal medicine docs, family medicine docs, pediatricians, gerontologists, and what we hear students talk about when they look at their debt is... dermatology, plastic surgery, specialties where they're less beholden to an insurance company... More lucrative? Much more lucrative because they can just do fee for service medicine and expect people to pay cash. But in Camden, Trenton, Newark, Jersey City, in urban areas, and other places that are underserved, that need quality, primary care. You're not going to make a gazillion dollars. Add that debt on top of that? And it's staggering. And so, one of the things we've done..."