Hundreds graduate in medical field, midst health care reform - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

5/22/10

Hundreds graduate in medical field, midst health care reform debate

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LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) -

By Tiffany Pelt - email

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) – Just as the nation's healthcare system is about to go through a controversial overhaul, nearly 800 Texas Tech students graduated Saturday from the Health Sciences Center with degrees in the medical field.

Students received degrees in medicine, nursing, and pharmacy ready to go into the changing field of healthcare. But as students join the field, some doctors are leaving.

"There are numerous physicians in town who are looking to re-organize or get out of medicine altogether. I know several prominent physicians who are talking about three or four years of practice and then quitting medicine," said local Doctor Robert Johnson.

Johnson is leaving his private practice because of the threats to cut back on Medicare reimbursements. He also blames the uncertain future for the medical field with the controversial health care reform.

"Year after year it's becoming less favorable to go into medicine at all and soon the best and the brightest are no longer going to look at medicine as a viable career," said Johnson.

But the hundreds of recent medical graduates think otherwise. "My whole family is in health care so I've kind of been around it all my life and it just felt like the right thing to do," said Texas Tech pharmacy graduate Sarah Villarreal.

The new Texas Tech Health Sciences Center President, Tedd Mitchell also addressed the health care issue during the graduation ceremony. He said the system needs work but not a complete overhaul, and that for years other countries have looked to the U.S. for medical advances and innovation.

He also encouraged the graduates not to dwell on the current problems as they start their new careers.

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