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OU medical students receive business training

OU-COM representatives speak about the college’s Business of Medicine program at a national symposium on student debt this week

By Angie Weaver

According to a 2004 Department of Labor survey, physicians and surgeons represent the highest paid workers in the U.S. But that fact doesn’t reflect the high costs of medical practice, from annual malpractice insurance premiums of up to $200,000, to the years of costly education and training. And after their rigorous medical preparation, doctors often remain ill-equipped to juggle the administrative and fiscal responsibilities of practicing medicine.

At Ohio University’s College of Osteopathic Medicine, students learn to tackle the financial challenges of their careers through the college’s Business of Medicine lecture series. The program recently earned a from the accrediting body of the American Osteopathic Association, citing “extraordinary efforts in offering extensive financial literacy programs to the student body.”

“Our students can end up borrowing more than $200,000; they’ve basically mortgaged their brains,” said Ann Brieck, M.A., recently retired OU-COM associate director of student affairs and founder of the Business of Medicine (BOM) Series. “We want our students to be informed and proactive about budgeting, and to prepare for the business of medical practice.”

On June 16 and 17, Brieck and Nick Niemiec, OMS III, who coordinated the 2008 BOM series, gave one-hour presentations and question-and-answer sessions on this business lecture series and debt management program at the American Student Assistance (AMSA) 2008 Symposium in Boston, Mass.

Funded by AMSA, a non-profit agency serving students
and financial aid offices, the BOM series begins each fall with personal budgeting advice—from calculating debt repayment to mortgaging a house—and continues through the winter and spring, covering medical practice issues such as physician compensation policy, medical malpractice insurance, administering a small practice and dealing with patient insurance. Each year, one or two peer debt managers, business savvy second-year medical students like Niemiec, coordinate and promote the series.

Niemiec coordinated ten lunchtime BOM sessions in the 2007-08 academic year, with an average attendance of 125 out of roughly 200 first and second-year students. Speakers ranged from industrial health professionals—like Walt Talamonti, M.D., the medical director of clinical operations for the Ford Motor Company—to alumni who return to share their experiences in administrating a private practice.

“I’ve always been interested in aspects of business in medicine,” Niemiec said. “As medical students, we don’t get much formal business training, but we’ll all have to manage or be a part of a medical organization some day.”

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Last updated: 01/28/2016