In recent posts, I've talked about the obligation some physicians may feel to work full time, considering society has invested so much in training us. Yet it doesn't feel like we were handed anything on a silver platter. Many medical students go a quarter of a million dollars in debt during med school. When I was an intern, I worked about 80 hours a week and earned $40,000 per year. That's $10/hour, which is way less than I made doing math tutoring after school in high school.
This seems like a pretty good deal for hospital, actually. So I'm not sure why they don't just hire tons of residents? Why is there such a bottleneck in resident training positions?
I did a little online research into this, and if anyone wants to add their two cents, you're welcome to because I'm still a little confused. Here are the facts, as I understand them:
1) Residency positions are limited.
2) It costs upwards of $100,000 each to train a resident, including salary, benefits, and paying attendings to teach.
3) Private insurance companies WILL NOT pay for residents. Not even a dime, despite the fact that residents may be providing most of the care for their patients.
4) Medicare and hospitals mostly foot the bill for residents.
I suppose it makes a little more sense why more spots can't be created when you look at how much hospitals and the government must pay. Yet I still can't entirely fathom how residents doing a job that would cost literally ten times as much if an attending were doing it is somehow a loss. Yes, there is a supervising attending. But we all know attendings in academia get paid less. An attending would have to be paid WAY more (and they're have to be more of them) to handle the workload that residents take care of.
Also, there's the fact that a lot of primary care positions, FM, and IM positions don't even get filled.
So even though I understand the details, I still can't honestly say I understand.