Measuring the direct costs of graduate medical education training in Minnesota

Lynn A. Blewett, Maureen A. Smith, Todd G. Caldis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Purpose. To demonstrate the usefulness of self-reported cost-accounting data from the sponsors of training programs for estimating the direct costs of graduate medical education (GME). The study also assesses the relative contributions of resident, faculty, and administrative costs to primary care, surgery, and the combined programs of radiology, emergency medicine, anesthesiology, and pathology (REAP). Method. The data were the FY97 direct costs of clinical education reported to Minnesota's Department of Health by eight sponsors of 117 accredited medical education programs, representing 394 sites of training (both hospital- and community-based) and 2,084 full-time-equivalent trainees (both residents and fellows). Average costs of clinical training were calculated as residency, faculty, and administrative costs. Preliminary analysis showed average costs by type of training programs, comparing the cost components for surgery, primary care, and REAP. Results. The average direct cost of clinical training in FY97 was $130,843. Faculty costs were 52%, resident costs were 26%, and administrative costs were 20% of the total. Primary care programs' average costs were lower than were those of either surgery or REAP programs, but proportionally they included more administrative costs. Conclusions. As policymakers assess government subsidies for GME, more detailed cost information will be required. Self-reported data are more cost-effective and efficient than are the more detailed and costly time-and-motion studies. This data-collection study also revealed that faculty costs, driven by faculty hours and base salaries, represent a higher proportion of direct costs of GME than studies have shown in the past.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)446-452
Number of pages7
JournalAcademic Medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2001

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