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Bill that creates exam to practice medicine criticized by universities

Academics and physicians called for senators to consult universities and medical associations prior to passing a bill approved by the lower chamber that would change the practice of medicine in the country.

The rector of the UASD, Ivan Grullon Fernandez, spoke up to alert the Senate not to vote for the bill that establishes the Medical Competences Examination (EUC). There are over 26,000 students studying medicine at the UASD.

The bill would establish the test as the sole requirement to practice medicine, eliminating the year-long public hospital internship requirement. The Chamber of Deputies on Tuesday, 13 July 2015, passed the bill. The bill also orders that the exam be administered by the Ministry of Public Health.

Grullon Fernandez criticized that the bill mandates that those who study medicine abroad and wish to practice medicine in the Dominican Republic need only to pass the EUC. He says this makes it too easy for foreigners to practice medicine in the Dominican Republic. As per the bill, after completing six years of studies abroad and passing the test they could practice medicine here.

Fernandez feels that the provisions in the legislation will undermine the importance of UASD as a medical school and lead to a considerable reduction in resources for the university. At present, the UASD is the only institution that can revalidate the medical studies of foreigners that seek to practice medicine here.

Wilson Mejia, Dean of Medical Sciences Faculty at the UASD, defended the social role of the internship medical graduates are required to fulfill in a public hospital in order to receive their exequatur, or license to practice medicine in the Dominican Republic. The new examination would eliminate this requirement.

The bill orders that upon passing the test, the Ministry of Public Health will issue the governmental exequatur that enables the graduates to practice medicine. In the past, the Office of the Presidency issued the exequaturs.

The bill establishes that only those who pass the test can opt for a medical residency in a state public hospital. Nevertheless, it establishes a one-year Special Primary Care Program in which graduates who fail the test can be hired to work in the Primary Care Units (UNAP) in order to specialize in primary care.

The Rector of Unibe, Julio Amado Castanos Guzman, who is also head of the board of the Plaza de la Salud medical center, is critical of the bill in this aspect. He says this means primary care would get the least qualified of the medical graduates, affecting quality of care at the primary level. Nevertheless, he approved the idea of replacing the internship with the standardized test. In his opinion the test will put pressure on the medical schools to improve the quality of their graduates.

Furthermore, Amarilis Herrera, a former president of the Medical Association (CMD) says that if the internship is eliminated, it will open doors to foreign doctors in detriment to the many local physicians that have a hard time finding work.

Source: DR1, Hoy

July 15, 2015

Category: DR News |

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