First for-profit med school nears approval

By Myrle Croasdale
American Medical News, October 1, 2007

With Rocky Vista University College of Osteopathic Medicine in Parker, Colo., one step closer to becoming the only for-profit, accredited medical school in the United States, it is generating controversy in the medical community.

Critics say a for-profit school will be beholden to investors and will scrimp on educational mission. Supporters assert that Rocky Vista must meet the same accreditation standards of other osteopathic schools. They also say the school’s educational outcomes will be the same as nonprofit schools.

“People are paying a lot of attention to this. There’s been a lot of discussion, and there are some very vocal people against it,” said Stephen C. Shannon, DO, MPH, president and CEO of the American Assn. of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine.

The phrase “for-profit school” triggers a negative picture of a business making money from tuition while skimping on education, he said. Medical educators from DO and MD schools alike are watching to see if Rocky Vista transcends that image.

George Mychaskiw II, DO, chief of anesthesia at the Blair E. Batson Children’s Hospital in Jackson, Miss. said he believes a for-profit school within the osteopathic profession’s ranks erodes creditability. “This is a very unsavory situation,” said Dr. Mychaskiw.

About Rocky Vista University


For-profit medical school moves ahead

By Kathy Robertson
Sacramento Business Journal, January 6, 2012

A group of local doctors and investors have raised money, purchased a building and are aggressively preparing to start classes next year in Elk Grove at what could be the nation’s first for-profit medical school.

They say California Northstate University College of Medicine will offer an integrated approach that focuses on basic science and an understanding of how body systems work, what goes wrong and how to keep patients healthy. There will be two years of classroom study, followed by clinical rotations at area hospitals, doctor offices and clinics.

Chief executive officer Alvin Cheung declined to provide financial details about what he calls a private, proprietary institution, but backers have assembled a group of investors, including local doctors and pharmacists, to launch the new school.

“The scarcity of public funding compels folks with great interest in education to think differently,” Cheung said. “The alternative is a private funding source. We don’t call it ‘for profit’ because that does not characterize our motivation. We are here to be part of the solution to a large problem.”

Virtually every medical school in America is either public or nonprofit. Palm Beach Medical College in Florida, also a for-profit venture, is waiting for accreditation like Northstate. The only existing for-profit medical school is a college of osteopathic medicine in Colorado.

About California Northstate University College of Medicine

About Palm Beach Medical College


R.I. House committee passes bill allowing for-profit medical school

By Gina Macris
Providence Journal, April 11, 2012

A bill enabling a new profit-making medical school to begin seeking approval necessary to open a campus and grant degrees in Rhode Island passed the House Committee on Health Education and Welfare Wednesday.

The proposed Rhode Island School of Osteopathic Medicine — as yet just a name — would create an estimated 300 jobs, pay taxes, and provide a medical education at roughly half the cost of a typical medical school said the Committee Chairman, State Rep. Joseph N. McNamara, D-Warwick.

The private colleges in Rhode Island oppose the proposal, with spokesman Daniel Egan saying for-profit higher education is a “predatory and troubled sector” that puts students second to shareholders’ interests.

PNHP’s model of a single payer national health program would eliminate the role of passive investors in health care since the interests of private investors must always prevail over the interests of patients – an untenable situation which makes health care expensive, inefficient and inequitable. Rather than shunning the for-profit model, we are now bringing the profit motive to our medical schools.

Since the schools will be able to push tuition rates up only so high they will inevitably look for other potential sources to increase profits.  Purchasing for-profit hospitals? Purchasing clinics? Marketing health care services? If there’s money in it we’ll see it. With the consolidation that we are seeing throughout the health care system today, why shouldn’t we expect the for-profit medical schools to want to be included in that package? What a cozy place for the investors. But what about the patients?