LOS ANGELES (AP) — A major health care company on Thursday announced plans to open a medical school somewhere in Southern California, with the goal of enrolling the first class in 2019.
Kaiser Permanente, based in Oakland, California, said a site has not been selected for the facility, which will be called the Kaiser Permanente School of Medicine.
The nonprofit said the school will train the next generations of doctors through the use of new technologies, evidence-based research and communication tailored to specific populations.
"Opening a medical school and influencing physician education is based on our belief that the new models of care mean we must reimagine how physicians are trained," said Bernard J. Tyson, CEO of Kaiser Foundation Health Plan Inc. and Kaiser Foundation Hospitals.
Teachers will take into consideration the increasing diversity of the U.S. population, "which require greater cultural competency and understanding," Kaiser Permanente said in a news release.
Although graduates won't be required to work for Kaiser, creation of the school will advance work the company already does in education — with more than 600 new physicians completing residency programs at Kaiser Permanente hospitals every year.
"Kaiser is clearly making a statement that they want to train doctors in their culture, philosophy and way of delivering care," Steve Valentine, vice president and West Coast consulting leader at health care company Premier Inc., told the Los Angeles Times (http://lat.ms/1UEW6I0).
"It won't be a fit for some students," he added. "They will still want UCLA, USC, Johns Hopkins."
"I'd rather have a physician who went to a real medical school and who is focused on what's the best treatment for this patient," Scott Glovsky, a Pasadena attorney who has represented patients suing Kaiser over denials of care, told the Times. "Kaiser limits creativity in the art of medicine."
In the coming months, the company will move to establish the legal entity and organizational structure for the new medical school and begin the accreditation planning process.
Kaiser Permanente has $60 billion in annual revenue and operates in seven regions, including Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii, the mid-Atlantic states, Northern California, Southern California and the Northwest, including Oregon and parts of southwest Washington.
Information from: Los Angeles Times, http://www.latimes.com/