October 28, 2010
Family Medicine Residency Program Expands.......
........Brings More Primary Care Physicians to Rural Missouri
Kansas City, MO -- A $1.9 million federal grant will enable the University of Missouri-Kansas City Department of Family Medicine to expand its residency program to the rural areas of Western Missouri with the goal of increasing the number of family physicians training and practicing in rural and underserved areas of Missouri.
The grant for the UMKC Family Medicine Residency Program, from the Health Resources and Services Administration, was funded as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. There were 82 primary care expansion grant positions awarded nationally with six being in Missouri (2 at UMKC Family Medicine, 2 at UMKC General Internal Medicine and 2 in the Joplin area).
The residency program, in which new physicians receive 3 years of specialized training following graduation from medical school, currently accepts 12 doctors annually for additional training as family physicians. The grant will enable the program to add two new residency slots in collaboration with seven rural hospital locations in Western Missouri. This five year grant will allow for more flexibility in training at these rural clinical sites. In three years, the program will maximize to 6 residents from UMKC FM in this rural program. This will grow the UMKC residency program to 42 residents in training which will be the largest family medicine training program in the state.
“This grant will begin what we plan to become a partial answer for the worsening accessibility to primary care in Rural Missouri,” said Todd Shaffer, MD, MBA director of the UMKC Family Medicine Residency, Professor of Medicine, and HRSA grant author. “We are committed to providing a primary care workforce trained to meet the needs of all populations but particularly both rural and urban underserved.”
Like many states, Missouri faces the challenges of both a shortage and a maldistribution of primary care providers. Surrounding states with loan repayment programs are encouraging graduating medical students to receive their training in residency programs in their states. Statistics show that most residency graduates stay with in a 70 mile radius of where they completed their training (69% of UMKC Graduates are in the 2 state area). Only 12 counties in Missouri are not designated as Primary Care Health Professional Shortage Areas and almost all of the non-urban counties are Medically Underserved Areas in whole or in part.
Jackson, Clay, Platte, and Cass are surrounded by seven counties that in whole or in part are designated medically underserved or health professional shortage areas. Currently, no primary care residency program exists in this region outside of Kansas City.
“We know that primary care is associated with better health outcomes, lower health care costs, and greater equity in health. We are thrilled about what this expansion program will bring to the state of Missouri; our need to address medically underserved areas, and projected primary care workforce shortages,” said Dr Shaffer.
Specific goals of the project are to increase the recruitment of medical students to the western areas of rural Missouri for training and recruit residents interested in training and commitments to rural areas after training. Other goals include improving loan forgiveness to these residents training and accepting positions in rural Missouri towns and cities.
The expansion of the residency program will be effective in July 2011.