A special closed-door meeting was held Wednesday, August 6th with Lafayette City-Parish President Joey Durel and several officials from around the state to discuss the possibility of bringing a medical school to Lafayette.
Louisiana’s population is rapidly growing and with that growth comes more patients.
According to State Treasurer John Kennedy, doctors are in short supply.
“We have a doctor shortage and it’s going to get worse,” said Kennedy.
The school would be an extension of the LSU Health Sciences Center in New Orleans.
Kennedy said the school would focus heavily on primary care and retention of students after graduation.
“Tulane for example, in 2013 graduated about 177 doctors and 35 stayed in Louisiana,” said Kennedy.
There’s only three medical schools located in Louisiana and City-Parish President Joey Durel said he hopes establishing a medical school here in Lafayette will reduce the shortage of doctors in the state. “Us here in Acadiana know that more often than not when students train in an area they stay in an area within a very small radius of that area,” said Durel.
Kennedy said the cost of a medical facility could reach upwards of one hundred million dollars but, the new Lafayette facility would be tens of thousands of dollars cheaper.
“I think it could be done for anywhere between seven or eight million or up to ten or twelve million a year maybe a little less,” said Kennedy.
Durel said they already have qualified teachers at UL Lafayette and enough doctors and hospitals to serve as a classroom for students.
Although it is cheaper it still needs funding.
“I don’t know if we would even have to look at raising or asking for a tax. I think there is enough pockets of money from government in acadiana area, the private sector,” said Durel.
Durel said he is planning to meet with other parish presidents to discuss plans for the medical school.