HPSP If you could go back, would you do it again?

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W1zardDoctor

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I saw a thread with a similar question in HPSP dentistry, and I was looking for one in the MD/DO category, but couldn't find it, so here it is.

Please also share your top 2-3 pros and cons.

There's a LOT of information on here, but when I talk with people actively in the program, I feel like I'm hearing more good things than bad, especially since I already have a family (wife and daughter). They emphasized really decent working hours and time off to SPEND with family in a very supportive community (which seems to be the opposite of what I see on SDN...).

I don't know... I feel like it's choosing between two good things, so I'm just trying my best to avoid regret, and make a good choice for all involved. I know the military is not for everyone, but I can really see myself going either way at this moment. I also have a lot of family in the air force, so that's the one I'd try for...

Thanks all!

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Pros:
1. They pay for school. That is a big pro. The biggest, really.
2. Pay during residency is better than civilian, and so are benefits. Residency time credits toward your retirement eligibility time.
3. You are eligible for retirement at a relatively young age, which makes second careers possible.

Cons:
1. The medical system you are joining is very deficient in resources and opportunities for physician training. That is a huge negative, and it has only grown worse. They don't have anywhere near enough resident billets to offer HPSP accessions a place beyond GMO tours. Most GMOs decide to leave seeing the gulf in opportunities between military and civilian residency and prefer a trajectory unencumbered by the demands and expectations of the services, better residency pay notwithstanding. This has come to hurt the reputation of HPSP badly, which is unable to recruit as well from top medical schools as the programs once did.
2. The residency programs struggle to provide the breadth of clinical exposure needed to train to the level expected of a tertiary care facility. Many programs depend heavily on external affiliations to provide the necessary training to remain accredited. Accrediting organizations bend over backward to accommodate military programs where similar civilian programs would be placed on formal probation for remediation.
3. For many specialties, the pay and the ancillary support is well below what is afforded in the average practice setting in the civilian community.

The "cons" list could go on to include the dearth of research opportunities, capricious tasking of GMOs without proper support, inadequate support for CME and diversion of funds set aside for CME to unrelated activities, lack of fairness in tasking for deployment, and others. You asked for three each, so there you have it. No charge for the overage.
 
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Pros:
1. They pay for school. That is a big pro. The biggest, really.
2. Pay during residency is better than civilian, and so are benefits. Residency time credits toward your retirement eligibility time.
3. You are eligible for retirement at a relatively young age, which makes second careers possible.

Cons:
1. The medical system you are joining is very deficient in resources and opportunities for physician training. That is a huge negative, and it has only grown worse. They don't have anywhere near enough resident billets to offer HPSP accessions a place beyond GMO tours. Most GMOs decide to leave seeing the gulf in opportunities between military and civilian residency and prefer a trajectory unencumbered by the demands and expectations of the services, better residency pay notwithstanding. This has come to hurt the reputation of HPSP badly, which is unable to recruit as well from top medical schools as the programs once did.
2. The residency programs struggle to provide the breadth of clinical exposure needed to train to the level expected of a tertiary care facility. Many programs depend heavily on external affiliations to provide the necessary training to remain accredited. Accrediting organizations bend over backward to accommodate military programs where similar civilian programs would be placed on formal probation for remediation.
3. For many specialties, the pay and the ancillary support is well below what is afforded in the average practice setting in the civilian community.

The "cons" list could go on to include the dearth of research opportunities, capricious tasking of GMOs without proper support, inadequate support for CME and diversion of funds set aside for CME to unrelated activities, lack of fairness in tasking for deployment, and others. You asked for three each, so there you have it. No charge for the overage.
Thank you for the response! A couple relevant details for myself (that I didn't think to mention earlier) are: I'm non-trad (28) and that I'm interested in surgery. I'm in my application cycle, so I don't really have a strong preference for specialty, other than somewhere in surgery.
 
Orbit’s comments are spot on.
The only thing I would add is that it literally takes an act of Congress to make the pros better, but a simple policy change on a whim by an unelected bureaucrat can make the cons even worse in an instant.
 
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