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Match Day at LSU Health & Tulane medical schools; budget concerns appear to impact LSU

LSU Health and Tulane Medical Schools Match Day (Sabrina Wilson FOX 8) LSU Health and Tulane Medical Schools Match Day (Sabrina Wilson FOX 8)

It is Match Day, and local graduating medical students at LSU Health New Orleans and Tulane University learned where they will get to do years of residency.

But the state’s serious budget problems apparently are affecting the numbers of LSU students who opt to remain in the state for further training.  

"I am very excited, Baton Rouge is a phenomenal program and it's where I've wanted to go for a really long time,” said LSU Health medical student, Morgan Walker, after opening her envelope with a letter which revealed where she would do her residency in internal medicine.

"Going to Lafayette, Louisiana, internal medicine,” said Rick Faul, another LSU Health New Orleans medical student.

LSU Health New Orleans said it educates the majority of Louisiana’s physicians.

"It's a great day for Louisiana, 51 percent of our students have decided to stay and continue their training in Louisiana,” said Dr. Steve Nelson, M.D., Dean of the School of Medicine at LSU Health New Orleans.

But that number is down from 56 percent last year and growing concerns over state government’s budget deficits are thought to be a a factor.

"These students are incredibly bright students, they can go where ever they want and there's no doubt that, that had an impact,” said Dr. Nelson.

At LSU Health Shreveport 109 students had their suspense ended too over where they would do further training. Of the 109 LSU Health Shreveport students, 44 will stay in Louisiana for residency training and 33 of that number will remain in Shreveport.

Currently there is a $70 million dollar budget deficit for this fiscal year in state government and $750 million for the budget year that starts July 1 after a recent special legislative session failed to close the funding gaps.

“We're going to be meeting with DHH, meeting with higher education, the medical schools,” said Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne earlier this week.

And with the remaining state money problems state funded healthcare is bracing for even more cuts.

"If that rhetoric continues more and more of these doctors will decide to leave to go elsewhere for training,” said Dr. Nelson.

In another part of the city, Tulane’s Match Day activities were underway.

"I'm going to the University of Washington in Seattle,” said Tulane student Bryan Fate.

Of the 203 graduating medical students at Tulane 21 are staying in Louisiana.

"But only 24 students in this class came from Louisiana,” said Dr. Marc Kahn, M.D., of Tulane’s School of Medicine.

He said where students are from is a big part of where they decide to do their residency. Even some LSU Health medical students have opted to train outside the state.

"I'm originally from New Orleans and I have every attention of returning after residency to practice,” said Erika Bisgaard whose residency program is outside Louisiana.

For those about to graduate from medical school who are staying in Louisiana for more training, the current threat of budget cuts to higher education and state funded healthcare did not give them pause.

"If anything I kind of feel an obligation to really give back to the state of Louisiana,” said Morgan Walker.

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