Kaiser Permanente's New Medical School Will Waive Tuition for Its First 5 Classes

New York Times (02/19/19) Goodnough, Abby

Kaiser Permanente has announced a tuition waiver for every student in the first five graduating classes of its new non-university-affiliated U.S. medical school. The company's primary objective is to prevent students from avoiding lower-paying specialties such as family medicine due to heavy debt or dismissing medical school altogether because of the cost. Kaiser Permanente School of Medicine CEO Mark Schuster says the school would begin accepting applications in June and open in Pasadena, Calif., in the summer of 2020. The annual tuition will be about $55,000, with Schuster noting the school is not planning to cover tuition beyond the first five classes, but it would provide "very generous financial aid" based on need afterwards. He adds that classes would train students in Kaiser's model of integrated care, in which doctors work on teams with other types of providers, supported by technology and data to ensure all patients' health needs are accounted for. Students will forgo the lecture-type science courses typical of first years and immediately start "integrated clerkships" in Kaiser Permanente hospitals and clinics. To pay the tuition costs, Kaiser is tapping into the portion of its revenue that it spends on "community benefits," which all nonprofit hospitals must deliver to remain tax-exempt.

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