Financial considerations associated with a fourth year of residency training in family medicine: Findings from the length of training pilot study

Patricia A. Carney, Annie Ericson, Colleen M. Conry, James C. Martin, Perry A. Pugno, Deborah S. Clements, Samuel Jones, M. Patrice Eiff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: The feasibility of funding an additional year of residency training is unknown, as are perspectives of residents regarding related financial considerations. We examined these issues in the Family Medicine Length of Training Pilot. METHODS: Between 2013 and 2019, we collected data on matched 3-year and 4-year programs using annual surveys, focus groups, and in-person and tele-phone interviews. We analyzed survey quantitative data using descriptive statis-tics, independent samples t test, Fisher’s Exact Test and χ2. Qualitative analyses involved identifying emergent themes, defining them and presenting exemplars. RESULTS: Postgraduate year (PGY)-4 residents in 4-year programs were more likely to moonlight to supplement their resident salaries compared to PGY-3 residents in three-year programs (41.6% vs 23.0%; P=.002), though their student debt load was similar. We found no differences in enrollment in loan repay-ment programs or pretax income. Programs’ descriptions of financing a fourth year as reported by the program director were limited and budget numbers could not be obtained. However, programs that required a fourth year typically reported extensive planning to determine how to fund the additional year. Programs with an optional fourth year were budget neutral because few residents chose to undertake an additional year of training. Resources needed for a required fourth year included resident salaries for the fourth year, one additional faculty, and one staff member to assist with more complex scheduling. Resi-dents’ concerns about financial issues varied widely. CONCLUSIONS: Adding a fourth year of training was financially feasible but details are local and programs could not be compared directly. For programs that had a required rather than optional fourth year much more financial planning was needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)256-266
Number of pages11
JournalFamily medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Family Practice


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