Purpose: Multiple publications describe short- term and intermediate outcomes of premedical postbaccalaureate programs (PBPs). However, the authors could find no control group studies reporting the service provided by graduates of PBPs to patients who are medically indigent (e.g., on Medicaid or uninsured) and/or poor. The authors explored the relationship between successful completion of a midwestern PBP and providing care for the underserved.
Method: In 2008, the authors surveyed 1996-2002 graduates of The Ohio State University College of Medicine who had been in practice for at least one year about their current practice population. The authors compared two groups: (1) physicians who completed the PBP and (2) a stratified random control group of physicians who graduated from the same medical school, in the same graduating classes, but did not participate in the PBP.
Results: The survey return rate was 70.9% (73/103). Findings suggest that PBP graduates were more likely to be practicing medicine in a federally designated underserved area (29.4% versus 5.1%, P < .009) or providing service where 40% or more of the patients were medically indigent or poor (67.6% versus 33.3%, P < .003). PBP graduates were also more likely to be volunteering their services to patients who were indigent (47.1% versus 10.3%, P < .001).
Conclusions: This is likely the first control group study demonstrating the increased likelihood of graduates of a PBP providing health care to patients who are medically indigent and/or poor.