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To retain Florida doctors, Rick Scott announces $80 million residency program

By on December 4, 2013
new statewide medical residency program

Future Florida doctors will get a little extra help from the state through a new $80 million program for facilities such as All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg.

Gov. Rick Scott announced the Statewide Residency Program — designed specifically for hospitals that sponsor graduate medical students — that the governor recommended as part of his 2013 Florida Families First Budget.

More than $13 million go to 10 Tampa Bay hospitals for expanding residency programs throughout Pinellas and Hillsborough Counties, according to Scott.

“In order to grow more opportunities for Florida families to succeed, we must invest in programs that will diversify our economy and create jobs for future generations,” Scott said in a statement released today.  

“That’s why my Florida Families First budget invested $80 million for Graduate Medical Education programs, which helps hospital,” Scott added. “This program is the first of its kind to coordinate with hospitals on supporting their medical education programs and will ensure we keep more of our medical school graduates here in the Sunshine State.”

The primary goal of the residency program is to address an expected statewide doctor shortage. With a growing, aging population, the demand for qualified health care professionals has intensified; Florida is already experiencing doctor shortages, ranking third-worst state in the U.S. for doctor shortages.

The Association of American Medical Colleges estimates the country faces scarcity of more than 91,500 physicians by 2020 — a number growing to over 130,600 doctors by 2025.

Shortages are spread equally among primary care and medical specialties like general surgery, cardiology, and oncology.

Scott’s program will attempt to keep new physicians practicing in Florida, rather than moving out of state after their residencies.

“Many doctors who participate in residency programs in Florida end up practicing in our state,” said State Sen. Denise Grimsley, Chair of the Senate Budget Subcommittee on Health and Human Services.

“It is important, particularly in rural areas that there are enough physicians to meet the future needs of our aging population,” she added.

Dr. Chad Brands, Director of Medical Education at All Children’s Hospital, which will receive more than $1.3 million from the program, sees it as an enhancement of its own newly developed pediatric residency plan. All Children’s recently became an affiliate of Baltimore-based Johns Hopkins Medicine.

“In partnership with Johns Hopkins Medicine, we are building a new pediatric residency program focused on developing physicians as future innovators and leaders in the field of children’s healthcare,” Brands said. “Graduate medical education funding will help us shape pediatric care for the 21st century.”

new statewide medical residency program