This has potential because we all know the challenges that underserved areas in urban and rural settings face when trying to attracted clinicians. We also know that one of the best ways to bring physicians and other highly skilled clinicians into underserved areas, and to keep them there, is to first bring them in as residents.
It's not immediately clear how many hospitals will take advantage of the new funding, or how many are in a position to consider establishing a residency program. Even with supplemental funding residency slots aren't cheap to establish and maintain. However, the program and the money behind it at least signal an awareness from political leaders that Florida has a physician shortage and that something needs to be done.
Joseph Portoghese, MD, chief academic officer at Florida Hospital, says the Orlando-based health system is expected to get about $3.2 million under the state's residency program. It's not clear how far that new money will go to defray costs for the system's 150 or so residency slots.
"We already operate at a deficit for medical education that dwarfs that amount," Portoghese says. "It certainly helps us, but we really have not sat down and decided if we are going to create additional residencies or enlarge our existing residencies just yet."
Still, Portoghese says any new sources of funding are critical because funding under indirect medical expenses through Medicare is expected to diminish in the coming years.