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Idaho governor offers limited support for residency plan

Idaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter is offering limited support for a 10-year plan that proponents say could increase the number of doctors practicing in the state.

Proponents of the $16.3 million plan to fund additional medical residencies say it will help pull Idaho out of its 49th-in-the-nation ranking for the number of physicians per 100,000 residents. Medical residencies are work experience programs that medical school graduates must complete in order to become practicing physicians.

But Otter has recommended the state only partially fund the program for now, saying he wants to have an independent review to ensure the program will have the promised impact before dedicating limited state funds.

The governor is asking lawmakers to spend about $1.1 million on the plan next year, and he wants a third-party review before investing further. The State Board of Education is requesting $5.2 million for next year, followed by smaller increases for through 2028.

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