State Board approves funding boost for medical residencies

With no discussion, the State Board of Education approved a $900,000 budget request for graduate medical fellowships.

Monday afternoon’s vote was designed to offset Gov. Brad Little’s across-the-board 5 percent budget cut, which affected all state agencies, including graduate medical programs.

In September, Little approved a move to add the $900,000 to the graduate medical education program. He said he supports the funding boost, a departure from his general plan to maintain a hold-the-line budget.

The additional funding would pay salaries for 15 residencies — an attempt to bolster Idaho’s 10-year plan for medical program, and attract more physicians to practice medicine in Idaho. At the end of the 10-year cycle, the State Board hopes to have more than 20 medical residency programs in place, training nearly 350 residents.

The funding is not yet a done deal, however.

The State Board’s vote means that the $900,000 will be included in Little’s 2021-22 budget request. The 2021 Legislature would still need to approve the funding.

It took the State Board about five minutes to approve the request. The vote was unanimous, although board member Linda Clark abstained. Clark is a board member with Family Medicine Residency of Idaho, a Boise group that recruits medical residents to the state.

Kevin Richert

Kevin Richert

Senior reporter and blogger Kevin Richert specializes in education politics and education policy. He has more than 30 years of experience in Idaho journalism. He is a frequent guest on "Idaho Reports" on Idaho Public Television and "Idaho Matters" on Boise State Public Radio. Follow Kevin on Twitter: @KevinRichert. He can be reached at [email protected]

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