KTVB - Idaho's first medical school gets pre-accreditation

MERIDIAN - Plans to build Idaho’s first medical school in Meridian got a big boost today.

The Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation has approved pre-accreditation status for the proposed Idaho College of Osteopathic Medicine (ICOM).

"This is a monumental day for Idaho's first medical school. ICOM will be a game changer and make an incredible impact on the health of the region for generations to come. Idahoans will be proud of their first medical school," said Dr. Robert Hasty, ICOM founding dean and chief academic officer.

"I'm grateful for the progress that's being made and I look forward to ICOM's full accreditation so Idaho can start producing homegrown physicians to meet the demands of our growing population," Gov. Butch Otter said. "This is an enterprise that holds great promise for helping improve health-care accessibility and affordability for all our citizens. I applaud everyone who is working hard to make ICOM a reality."

The school plans to break ground on May 17 and begin welcoming students in the fall of 2018.

ICOM plans to train osteopathic physicians. Idaho currently ranks 49th in the number of physicians per capita.

When it opens, the school aims to admit as many as 150 students in its first year, charging around $40,000 in annual tuition. Doctors of osteopathic medicine are licensed physicians who provide a range of services, such as prescribing drugs and performing surgery.

Critics have raised concerns that the region lacks enough residencies to accommodate all those would-be doctors when the first class graduates in 2022.