WVSOM President Jim Nemitz discusses ways lawmakers can make healthcare more accessible during WV Press Association event

By Matthew Young, RealWV

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The WV Press Association’s annual “Legislative Lookahead,” held Friday at the Culture Center on the State Capitol Complex in Charleston, offered reporters an opportunity to hear from leaders of the Mountain State’s healthcare industry. 

On hand for the panel discussion was West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine (WVSOM) President Jim Nemitz, who began by sharing his views regarding ways the state’s legislature can make healthcare more accessible to residents.

“My perspective is in the area of medical education,” Nemitz told reporters in attendance. “Healthcare is complex. […] One of the things is to look at the possibility of incentives for those physicians who do stay in our state to practice – especially new physicians that stay.”

“I had a recent grad of mine say, ‘I can go down to Florida, and I can get paid a lot more money, not have to pay state income tax, and benefit my family more,’” Nemitz continued. “What keeps him (graduate) here is his family is here, he loves this state, and he’s here to serve.”

“We need to hold on to those people,” Nemitz added. “We need to hold on to as many of our physicians and providers as we can. We need to look at what innovative ways we can do that.”

According to Nemitz, incentivizing physicians is only one step the legislature can take. Another vital component is for lawmakers to provide more support for higher education overall, so that learning institutions can “be the economic engines that we are.”

“Each of us are an economic engine for our community,” Nemitz said. “In the case of WVSOM – in addition to Lewisburg – we’re in all the major population areas throughout the state, so we have an economic impact around the state.”

“We want to be able to continue to grow our programs,” Nemitz noted. “In order to grow, state support is important.”

At just over $22,000 per year for in-state, and $53,000 for out-of-state resident students, WVSOM consistently ranks among the most affordable medical colleges in the United States. Despite this, the average graduate still carries well over $200,000 in student loan debt. In addition to other scholarships, a four-year full tuition waiver is currently available to incoming WVSOM students. To qualify, new students must carry a science GPA of 3.7 or higher, as well as MCAT and BBFL scores in the 60th percentile or higher. The admissions office can be reached at 800-356-7836.

To learn more about the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine, visit wvsom.edu

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