The head of a Williamsville-based financial planning company says while state investment in new buildings is fine, it's missing out on a badly-needed resource in Buffalo: more doctors. Anthony Ogorek, in a conversation with WBFO, suggested there are far better uses for state dollars to revitalize Western New York's economy than riskier ventures such as the Tesla plant.
Late last week, New York University announced it will cover the tuition of its medical students. Most of the estimated $600 million needed to fund the program has already been raised from private sources.
The move comes following an April report by the Association of American Medical Colleges, suggesting an already-existing doctor shortage will reach a deficit of 120,000 physicians by the year 2030.
In Buffalo, Anthony Ogorek of Williamsville-based Ogorek Wealth Management, during a conversation with WBFO about Tesla and its recent woes, raised the idea that while the state has invested large sums of cash to build new facilities, and create numerous construction jobs, it has missed out on what should be one of the region's most-needed investments. That is, the training and retention of doctors.
The University at Buffalo has a state-of-the-art facility in its new Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences but Ogorek says what the state needs to ensure is that many of the students who train there stay here.
"It would be wonderful if the governor would be able to get together with the university and say, we have a brand new medical school and we have 180 medical students in this class. In the event, for example, we wanted to retail half of those students working in Buffalo, if they were interested in working in the Buffalo area after their training is done and their internship and residency, we waive tuition for them," Ogorek said.
His remarks came during an interview for analysis of Tesla's recent stock value drop and concerns raised about Elon Musk's company, including its large factory in Buffalo's Riverbend neighborhood. While Ogorek called that project an ill-conceived, politically-motivated scheme, state leaders continued to defend it on Friday.
Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul said the state is continuing to hold Tesla to its promises of job creation and told reporters during a visit to Buffalo that the state has a plan in the event of a worst-case scenario.
"That building, the investments that were put in by New York State, are not owned by Tesla or SolarCity or Panasonic. That is a New York State asset," she said.
New York State invested $750 million into the facility, the largest investment under the Cuomo Administration's ambitious Buffalo Billion program. Ogorek, meanwhile, stayed with his argument that the state could find better uses of their dollars through more human resource investment such as doctors.
"They want to point to something and they point to this new medical school," he said. "And they say isn't that great? We're doing something great. But really, I think the public doesn't give a hoot. Really, what the public cares about is how many of those physicians in training are going to be remaining in this community and meeting the needs of an increasing aging population."