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Disruptive Remedies for the Physician Shortage

Philip Betbeze, for HealthLeaders Media, October 25, 2012

Most medical schools centralize the residencies available to their students at one or just a few local hospitals. USF traditionally has sent most of its 750 residents to the hospital across the street—the 1,000-bed Tampa General Hospital—as well as the 206-bed H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute, also in Tampa and two Veterans Administration hospitals in the area.

Klasko and his leadership team are hoping to change that, however.

"Instead of centralizing our 750 residents, we'll double that number in the next four years creatively," he says, pointing to the need to distribute that larger number among more facilities.

For example, USF's Morsani is in the final stages of setting up a residency program at Lakeland (Fla.) Regional Medical Center and NCH Healthcare System in Naples, Fla.

"We brought in a CMS expert who showed them how they could get up to 200 residents and get them funded," says Klasko. "The community hospital might not have funding or infrastructure to explore this, so we're coming out to those hospitals and saying we'll provide both."

Klasko is also working on a similar residency program at a 300-bed Florida hospital that he would not name because discussions are not final, and has also embarked on an innovative residency program out of state with Lehigh Valley Health Network, an Allentown, Pa.–based system with two hospitals and $1.5 billion in revenue.

To address the physician shortage program, Klasko says, "the state does not have to build a medical school for half a billion dollars. That's wasteful."

The Lehigh Valley program attempts not only to increase residencies for USF medical students, but also to change the way physicians are trained—that is, focused more on team-based healthcare (see HealthLeaders,
June 2011).

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1 comments on "Disruptive Remedies for the Physician Shortage"


david rollins (10/26/2012 at 1:24 PM)
There are four ways to fill physician positions in medically underserved areas. ? Expand medical school enrollments and establish more primary care residency programs. ? Raise the financial payments for primary care physicians. ? Open our doors to English speaking foreign physicians. ? Train local people, volunteers, to recruit physicians from the more popular U.S. locations where physicians tend to congregate to the less well known areas where there are few to none. The first two ways are ongoing but time and logistics are required to educate new physicians. The third would antagonize many groups of people and cause an exodus of physicians from our country's friends and neighbors. The fourth, the approach by Citizen-Volunteers Limited, is one that can be implemented immediately. Our vision is for each HPSA having too few primary care providers, high infant mortality, high poverty and/or high elderly population to have access to the physicians that they need. OUR MISSION IS TO ORGANIZE AND TRAIN LOCAL CITIZENS IN THESE HPSAS TO RECRUIT THEIR OWN PHYSICIANS. We are currently raising funds for our Beta Training program. David Rollins, Ex. Director/Founder