As the nation grapples with a physician shortage, Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point is gearing up to offer the first internal medicine residency program in Pasco County.
The hospital has received approval from the American Osteopathic Association for the program that is scheduled to begin with six residents in July 2014.
This program is the hospital’s first step in developing graduate medical education residency programs. It also intends to add Allopathic Graduate Medical Education Programs in general surgery and internal medicine in 2015.
The hospital is honored to extend an opportunity to participate in the hospital’s post-graduate medical education program, Shayne George, the hospital’s chief executive officer, said in a news release.
“Our program will be dedicated to providing the highest quality graduate medical education for those who come to Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point from the nation’s medical schools,” he said.
The program will help address a growing need for doctors, according to the 2012 Physician Workforce Annual Report issued by the Florida Department of Health.
“Florida has added undergraduate medical education capacity by opening new medical schools, but lags in creating corresponding graduate medical education opportunities,” the report states.
“Preventing the annual export of qualified GME (residency) candidates to other states is the first step toward shaping the physician workforce of the future,” the report adds.
Statistics contained in the report reveal that nearly 12 percent of Pasco’s active doctors plan to retire within the next five years, and nearly 4 percent plan to relocate. Next door, in Hillsborough County, 10 percent of doctors plan to retire within five years and 3 percent plan to relocate.
Those figures compound the problems of an expected increase in health care demands, as more people are insured to meet requirements of the nation’s changing health care laws, and as the state’s population ages.
Planning for the residency program began more than a year ago, said Kurt Conover, spokesman for Regional Medical Center Bayonet, a 290-bed acute care hospital at 14000 Fivay Road in Hudson. It will take internal medicine residents three years to complete the residency program.
Students from Osteopathic Medical Schools from around the country will be eligible to apply, Conover said. The information will also be posted on the hospital’s website.
“Florida is a popular state for training,” he said, adding that the hospital anticipated filling six positions beginning next July.
Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point has a nationally acclaimed heart institute, more than 350 physicians, 900 employees and 500 volunteers on its integrated health care delivery team.
For more information about the hospital, visit www.rmchealth.com.