AG Greg Abbott Says Its Okay For Caribbean Med Students to Come to Texas

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These hard-working med students are ready to train in Texas, just as soon as they can tear themselves away from their dermatology seminar.
Earlier this year it came to light that DeVry, the Illinois-based tech school giant, wanted some students from its Caribbean medical school to complete their training in Texas. The plan was modest, a maximum of 20 students from DeVry's American University of the Caribbean placed in Texas hospitals for third- and fourth-year clinical rotations, but it inspired considerable push-back.

Lawmakers and officials at Texas' existing medical schools argued that such clerkships are already scarce and that opening them to students from an outside school would deprive Texas students of training opportunities. Underlying this was the suspicion that a medical school that operates out of the Caribbean must be a haven for American med school rejects that couldn't pass muster in the U.S.

Those concerns prompted the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to wonder if it could legally grant a certificate of authority for a foreign medical school to operate on Texas soil. In July, they asked Attorney General Greg Abbott to weigh in.

Abbott delivered his opinion yesterday, concluding that state law "gives the Board discretion to grant or deny a certificate of authority to a foreign medical school that otherwise satisfies the statutory and regulatory criteria for issuance of a certificate."

In other words, he split the baby. On the one hand, there is nothing in the law that says the THECB can't allow a foreign medical school to operate in Texas, so long as it meets the board's standards. On the other hand, the board's authority is discretionary, meaning it can grant or deny applications as it damn well pleases. Some, according to Abbott's opinion, have urged the THECB to hold off on making a decision until the legislature convenes and considers whether it's wise to allow foreign medical schools to operate in Texas. The board can do that, too, if it wants, Abbott ruled.

All of this puts things exactly where they were four-and-a-half months ago, when the THECB asked for the opinion. Dominic Chavez, a spokesman for the board, said the agency is still reviewing Abbott's opinion "to assess impacts."

"From a technical standpoint, this agenda item remains at the Board since the item was officially postponed and the opinion sought," Chavez wrote in an email Tuesday afternoon. "The full Board does not meet again until the end of January which would be soonest any action could be taken."

Update at 11:34 a.m.: DeVry passed along a statement responding to Abbott's ruling:

The Attorney General's opinion clarifies the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board's authority in regards to international medical schools. We look forward to the Board's ultimate decision regarding the American University of the Caribbean Medical School's request to enable Texas resident students the opportunity to complete 3rd and 4th year clinical clerkships back in their home state of Texas.

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mavdog topcommenter

I wonder if DeVry has contributed any $ to Abbott's campaign fund?


just asking mind you.


allowing the DeVry med school students into texas to complete their rotations is just plain stupid. these rotation positions can easily be filled by texas students, students who are paying the tuition to texas med schools and also are students who have met all the requirements to be in texas med schools.


What if they're really UN Voting Observers in disguise, Greg? DID YOU THINK OF THAT?


 @mavdog I think you answered your first question with the second statement..

I wonder if the new Supply of interns will reduce the compensation / stipend of those who will work in  the system ..


mavdog topcommenter



there isn't any compensation to these students for their work, they're still in school, after med school the newly minted Dr.s are placed with hospitals as residents where they do get compensated.


this process is done by what is called the "match" system, and the resident positions are competitively filled on a nationwide basis.


these students in question are for the most part doing elective rotations, at this point in their med school journey the student starts to focus on specialty and sub-speciality work. They will trail doctors and residents as these professionals work on actual patients.


there are plenty of TX med students to fill the available spots already. giving DeVry access to the positions only benefits DeVry in their selling of the school to prospects, IMO at the expense of TX med students who are seeking these same positions.

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