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00000176-d8fc-dce8-adff-faff71620001Idaho is one of four western states without a medical school. So, Idaho, Wyoming, Alaska and Montana have partnered with the University of Washington School of Medicine to provide in-state tuition rates for out-of-state medical students.The program -- known today as WWAMI (sounds like whammy) -- was created in 1971. Wyoming joined in 1996.According to the WWAMI webpage, these are the programs' five goals:Provide publicly supported medical education.Increase the number of primary-care physicians and correct the maldistribution of physicians.Provide community-based medical education.Expand graduate medical education and continuing medical education.Provide all of these in a cost-effective manner.The state of Idaho subsidizes the cost of attending the University of Washington for 20 medical students per year. Idaho pays about $50,000 per seat, per year, leaving the student to pay just in-state tuition and fees.Here's a look at the number of WWAMI seats Idaho has had over time:00000176-d8fc-dce8-adff-faff71620002The state also pays for a similar program with the University of Utah School of Medicine. There, Idaho subsidizes the cost of tuition for eight medical students per year.In fiscal year 2013, Idaho committed $3,986,900 to the WWAMI program and $1,257,200 to the University of Utah.

Washington State University Could Soon Open Medical School

A new report shows Washington State University is ready for a full-fledged medical school in Spokane. It would be one of the biggest educational ventures the school has seen in decades.

Consultants from MGT of America, contracted by WSU, gave this report to the school’s board of regents: WSU is well positioned to develop an accredited medical school in the near future. The group says WSU could seek accreditation in Fall 2015, and have its charter class in 2017.

“There is a real mal-distribution of physicians across the state," says Ray Thompson of MGT. "There are about 17 counties in the state that have less than ten physicians per 10,000 population. The average number or the United States in that is about 23 per 10,000.”

Thompson said by opening a medical school in Spokane, WSU would help fill the gap of physicians in rural and eastern Washington. The feasibility study says the initial investment from the state would need to be about three-million dollars a year, with no capital expenditure.

Meanwhile, two classes of medical students are taking classes in Spokane, through the University of Washington’s school of medicine.

WSU’s board will vote Friday morning on whether to start its own medical school.

Copyright 2014 Northwest News Network