MDAdvantage CEO Shares Importance of Edward J. Ill Awards
Steve Adubato goes on-location to MDAdvantage to talk to Patricia Costante, Chairman and CEO of MDAdvantage, about the importance of the Edward J. Ill scholarship awards, evolving medical education in New Jersey and the burden of medical school debt on students.
"We are speaking with Patricia Constante, who is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of MDAdvantage Insurance Company of New Jersey. Patricia, we're talking about medical education. A very strong commitment that your company has, and the EJI Awards, which stands for? Edward J. Ill Awards. And Doctor Ill was a physician who practiced in the early 1900's, and had a commitment to continuing education for physicians. And that's really the legacy of these awards. You know, I fully disclose certain things, and one of the things I will proudly disclose is that I have been honored, for many years, to cohost these awards for medical education. The scholarships for these medical students, together with you, at this great event. And a whole range of people are honored in the medical profession that night. Talk about medical education. How it's evolving, and what these medical students are dealing with, and why these scholarships matter so much? The scholarships matter primarily because the debt that students incur as they go through medical school is really pretty mind boggling when you think about it. 80% of students who graduate, graduate with more than 100,000 dollars in debt. But more than that, there are 12 percent of students who finish medical school owing more than 300,000 dollars. And it colors every decision they make. What specialty can I go into? What kind of lifestyle can I expect if I have to pick up extra shifts in an emergency room? As an example. So really, what we're trying to do, is to provide students with the opportunity for some financial relief, in hopes that they can think more about primary care specialties, which is an area where the country, but New Jersey specifically, sees a real lack. A real lack in primary care medicine, because the reimbursement is less favorable. Let's talk a little bit about that. This whole primary care, whether... is it...? "Shortage" the right word by the way? I think "shortage" is exactly the right word. And how does that play out for consumers...? Not consumers. For patients? Well, it plays out in the fact that, have you ever had an earache and tried to get an appointment with a primary care doctor? You can face, you know, a two week wait for an appointment. I think it's part of what has prompted the rise of urgent care centers. And, you know, what's referred to as "CVS medicine" which is staffed primarily by nurse practitioners, and physician assistants. Because physicians primarily are moving away from primary care into the specialties. And that's an area that we would like to see physicians enter, because they really need to be the captains of what's becoming..."