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HCA, UCF College of Medicine announce residency program to help cut physician shortage

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A new Central Florida education alliance seeks to retain medical residents as a way to reduce the state’s physician shortage.

Hospital Corporation of America’s North Florida Division announced today a partnership with the University of Central Florida College of Medicine for a program to increase the number of residencies and fellowships in Florida.

The consortium — HCA North Florida’s largest academic partnership to date — strengthens the existing relationship between UCF and HCA to help solve a persistent nationwide physician shortage. It seeks to allow more medical school graduates to remain in Florida to complete medical residencies and fellowships.

More than 550 residents and fellows will be enrolled in the program, and the course expects to graduate up to 150 residents per year over the next five years.

“There are not enough residency slots in the nation for the number of medical school graduates each year,” said Dr. Deborah German, UCF’s vice president for medical affairs and founding dean of the College of Medicine. “While 97 percent of UCF’s medical school graduates find residencies, many qualified students do not, because there are not enough spots.”

Even after the residency match last year, German said more than 600 U.S. medical school seniors were without residency positions – leaving them unable to practice medicine after graduating.

“This agreement will go a long way to attracting and retaining excellent doctors for Florida,” she added.

A recent survey found that Florida faces a worsening physician shortage; by 2025, the state will be short nearly 7,000 doctors, as the state ranks 42 out of 50 in the number of residency positions per capita. This means many medical school graduates choose to complete training out of state.

“As part of the nation’s leading hospital network, HCA’s North Florida Division brings significant resources and a dedicated commitment to meeting Florida’s critical need for physicians by expanding access to medical residency programs,” said Michael Joyce, president of HCA’s North Florida Division. “We are excited to partner with UCF to provide outstanding training and mentorship that will prepare the next generation of physicians to deliver the highest quality of patient care.”

The program, which does not affect any existing HCA/UCF alliances, will offer four residencies and will seek required re-accreditation from the national Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME). UCF already operates two residency consortiums with HCA at Osceola Regional and the Orlando VA Medical Center.

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.

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