Down the road this could become one of the biggest effects of Louisiana's budget crisis. I did not connect the dots between the budget issues of today and the potential loss of medical professionals tomorrow but this could become a much bigger deal in ten years if the state's medical schools keep seeing more of their graduating student population leaving the state.

This past year slightly over half, 51%, of LSU Health New Orleans medical graduates are remaining in state for their residencies. This does not bode well for the state's medical community. For Dr. Steve Nelson, Dean of the School of Medicine at LSU Health New Orleans this is significant.

For a state institution, that’s one of the highest in the country, but we have done better than that in the past. Last year it was 56%. The few years behind that it was 62%.

Dr. Nelson in his comments to the Louisiana Radio Network suggests that uncertainty over the state's budget situation is one of the leading causes of these students seeking residency elsewhere.

So, what's the problem with a doctor training in another state or another place?

If you leave to do your internship and residency somewhere else, say out of state, the likelihood is that you might wind up practicing medicine in that state as well. So once you lose them, there’s a chance they may not come back.

This could lead to a shortage of trained physicians in the state. That could become an even bigger problem when it comes to caring for residents who don't have or who have limited insurance benefits. This could become a bigger issue down the road as the state is exploring expanding Medicare Coverage.

However, if the budget situation is not taken care of soon and health care and higher education keep getting placed on the chopping block when it comes to budgetary needs you can expect this trend to continue. It unfortunately is not a trend that bodes well for our state looking into the future.

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