Match Day for local med students

LITTLE ROCK (KATV) - UAMS medical students celebrated the next step in their careers Friday.

It was Match Day - the day when 154 UAMS seniors and thousands of others across the country learned where they'll complete their training after medical school.

Sarah Tingle was one of those new doctors. Little Rock was her first choice and she was matched to stay at UAMS. She said she was relieved when she heard her name called.

"I was at the very last group and so I waited a long time to hear it called," said Tingle. "Was relieved, but very nervous. Wanted to find out, get that letter and open it!"

But there were hundreds of other seniors across the country who did not have their names called. They didn't get matched so they won't begin their residencies.

According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, medical schools are expanding to meet an expected need for more doctors because of the Affordable Care Act but there aren't enough federally-funded residencies to go around. In fact, the number of Medicare-sponsored residencies has not increased in 15 years.

Because of that, the Association of American Medical Colleges predicts the U.S. will face a shortage of 62,900 doctors by 2015 and as many as 140,000 by 2025 unless Congress increases funding for residencies.

Most analysts don't expect that to happen with current budget-cutting concerns. A bipartisan House bill was re-introduced Friday, though, that would create 15,000 more medical residency positions under Medicare.

In the meantime, the new doctors of the world like Sarah Tingle are getting ready for the next phase of their medical training and getting into a field where they are desperately needed.

"I am very excited right now," said Tingle. "This is a great moment."