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August 7, 1967

The Volunteer Medical Faculty

JAMA. 1967;201(6):492. doi:10.1001/jama.1967.03130060166032

To the Editor:—  The faculty structure of today's medical school scarcely resembles that of 15 years ago. Liberal financial assistance, particularly from governmental sources, has enabled schools to build substantial clinical departments of full-time members.Yet, in most institutions a dedicated volunteer faculty, estimated at 30,000 practitioners1 continues to contribute substantial time and talent in traditional fashion. It was estimated that in 1960 practicing physicians contributed the equivalent of $28,200,000 worth of professional time as teachers. And in city ("charity") hospitals physicians continue to teach and give other service without remuneration.2Such "volunteerism" is obviously becoming archaic. The medically indigent population will be nonexistent by legislative design within the next ten years. Increasing funds collected from government fee for service benefits, as well as private sources, are accumulating in hospital treasuries. Resentment is building as the volunteer is asked to verify services rendered on voucher forms for fees