The cost associated with education of residents is of interest from an educational as well as a political perspective. Most studies report a single institution's actual incurred costs, based on traditional cost accounting methods. We quantified the minimum instructional and program-specific administrative costs for residency training in internal medicine.
Using the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education program requirements for internal medicine as minimum standards for teaching and administrative effort, we quantified the minimum instructional and administrative costs for sponsorship of an accredited residency program in internal medicine. We also analyzed the impact of resident complement and program curricular emphasis (outpatient, inpatient, or traditional) on the per-resident cost. The main outcome measure was the minimum annual per-resident cost of instruction and program-specific administration.
Using the assumptions in this model, we estimated the annual cost per resident of implementing the program requirements to be $50 648, $35 477, $28 517, and $26 197 for inpatient intensive residency programs with resident complements of 21, 42, 84, and 126, respectively. For outpatient intensive residency programs of identical resident complements, we estimated the annual per-resident cost to be $58 025, $42 853, $35 894, and $33 574 for similar resident complements. Fixed costs mandated by the program requirements, which did not vary across program size or configuration, were estimated to be $640 737.
There are fixed and variable costs associated with sponsorship of accredited internal medicine residency programs. The minimum cost per resident of education and departmental administration varies inversely with program size within the sizes examined.