Baylor Scott & White Health announced this week it's financing the formation of a new medical school campus in Temple, Texas, through a partnership with Baylor College of Medicine.
The new campus, which is slated to open in fall 2023 to its first class of students, is part of an effort by Baylor Scott & White to expand the physician workforce in Texas and build a pipeline of physicians practicing at its system. Texas had a shortage of 2,002 primary care physicians in 2017 and that shortage is expected to increase by 67% in 2030, according to a 2018 report by the state's department of health services.
"Our healthcare system strongly believes that education of a new generation of physicians is an asset not only for the healthcare system but for the community and the state of Texas," said Dr. Alex Arroliga, chief medical officer of Baylor Scott & White. "The shortage of physicians is in some ways mitigated by the creation of our pipeline with significant resources, in this case."
Under the partnership, Baylor Scott & White will finance the medical school campus. The investment is expected to double Baylor's current spending in medical school education but Pete McCanna, president of the system, said he couldn't provide a specific figure at this time.
The initial class will comprise 40 students, with 40 more students starting each subsequent year.
Arroliga said the discussions with Baylor College of Medicine focused on four years and it's too early to say how the partnership will evolve after that time.
Baylor College of Medicine will recruit students with an interest in staying in Texas for residency and to practice, according to a press release. Texas has high rates of obesity and a high uninsured rate.
"This is a great opportunity to expand Baylor College of Medicine's outstanding medical education programs to a regional medical school campus," said Dr. Paul Klotman, president, CEO and executive dean of Baylor College of Medicine. in a prepared statement. "We are looking forward to being in Temple."
Arroliga said while Baylor can't force students to do their residency with the health system or stay in Texas to practice, the hope is that by being exposed to the integrated health system's culture and structure, students will want to stay.
Temple was selected as the site for the new campus because its where Baylor Scott & White's clinic arm originated and remains strong with hospitals supporting it, McCanna said.
The campus will be overseen by the dean of Baylor College of Medicine and students will be taught by the school's faculty.
The new campus will increase Baylor College of Medicine's enrollment from 186 to 226 students per class.
Baylor Scott & White is the latest health system to jump into the medical education space. Geisinger Health acquired a medical school in Pennsylvania in 2016 with the goal to establish a pipeline of physicians for the system. Additionally, Kaiser Permanente based in Oakland, Calif., opened its medical school this summer.
Baylor already has some experience working with medical schools. The health system has partnered with Texas A&M University for 40 years, which involves about 200 medical students training each year at Baylor Scott & White facilities.
Baylor also announced this week that it's expanding its partnership with Texas A&M University to include training of about 300 medical students each year. Most of the students will now largely be trained in Dallas rather than Temple, which will house Baylor College of Medicine's medical education campus.