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Use of a primary care residency program to increase providers in a rural area: A case study from belle glade, FL

Monday, November 4, 2013

Ronald Wiewora, MD, MPH, Health Care District of Palm Beach County, Palm Springs, FL
Nikerson Geneve, DO, Family Medicine Residency, Lakeside Medical Center, Belle Glade, FL
INTRODUCTION: Belle Glade is located in rural southeast Florida. The community is served by a 70 bed acute care hospital, Lakeside Medical Center. The area has a shortage of primary care providers, and the hospital has used a number of recruitment techniques (such as loan repayment, scholarships and income guarantees) in order to attract and retain primary care physicians. These have not been successful. An osteopathic family medicine program was established to increase the number of primary care providers in the community. METHODS: The establishment of an osteopathic family medicine residency program was done over an 18 month period of time. Funding was secured through a Graduate Medical Education grant from the Agency for Health Care Administration. Accreditation was sought and attained from the American Osteopathic Association utilizing the Consortium for Excellence in Medical Education affiliated with Nova Southeastern University College of Osteopathic Medicine. Board certified osteopathic family practitioners were assigned to direct and supervise the program. The program entered the match for residency positions and matched one position the first year (2011). Four additional first year level positions and five additional second year positions were filled after the match. RESULTS: Lakeside Medical Center successfully established a rural osteopathic family medicine program with fifteen slots. The residents obtain their community continuing care experience in two local federally qualified health centers. The presence of these residents and their supervising physicians in the community has greatly enhanced the availability of primary care in this underserved area. These residents also participate in a variety of community outreach activities that include: attendance at local health fairs, offering routine screenings and educating high-risk, low-income residents on how to manage their own health. The residents also provide broad community education to this rural medically underserved population on a wide range of health topics via a local radio show that highlights health issues. CONCLUSIONS: In Belle Glade, FL, a rural primary care residency program has successfully brought additional practitioners to the community. The issue for further study will be to look at the retention of these physicians in the community.

Learning Areas:

Provision of health care to the public

Learning Objectives:
Discuss the process of establishing a primary care residency program Describe community outreach acitivies performed by primary care residents that add value to a community.

Keyword(s): Rural Health Care, Primary Care

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I oversee the services provided at Lakeside Medical Center. This is the hospital which sponsors the residency program described in the abstract.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

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