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DeTar Healthcare system, Texas A&M to create medical residency program

By Elena Watts
Jan. 4, 2014 at 10:03 p.m.
Updated Jan. 4, 2014 at 7:05 p.m.


Graduate medical education grantees

• Baylor College of Medicine Medical Center, Houston

• Doctors Hospital at Renaissance, Edinburg

• Hopkins County Memorial Hospital, Sulphur Springs

• Knapp Medical Center, Weslaco

• Memorial Health System of East Texas, Lufkin

• Scenic Mountain Medical Center, Big Spring

• DeTar Healthcare System, Victoria

• Texoma Medical Center, Denison

• Weatherford Regional Medical Center, Weatherford

Texas A&M Health Science Center and DeTar Healthcare System will announce Tuesday a partnership that will establish a family medicine residency program in Victoria.

The collaboration will address the need for family practice resources in the Crossroads.

Guest speakers at the news conference will include Bill Blanchard, CEO of the DeTar Healthcare System; John Sharp, chancellor of The Texas A&M University System; Cliff Thomas, vice chairman of the Texas A&M System Board of Regents and Victoria native; and Dr. Paul Ogden, interim dean of Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine.

Pending approval from the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education, the three-year program will accept its first six residents in July 2015.

Once the program is fully operational, 18 family medicine residents will be training at DeTar Healthcare System. The curriculum will encourage participants to continue practicing in the area.

DeTar is one of nine Texas hospitals awarded $1.3 million in planning grants by the Texas Higher Education Board to establish new graduate medical education programs at its facility, according to a Texas Hospital Association news release.

The grant funds are part of $50 million appropriated by the 83rd Texas Legislature to boost funding for graduate medical education in Texas and to increase access to physicians in underserved areas, according to the association's news release.

The funds are needed to address the state's physician shortage, which makes access difficult for residents across the state, according to the association. Texas has the fastest-growing population in the nation with a lower-than-average physician-to-population ratio. Among the most severe shortages are primary care physicians, endocrinologists, psychiatrists, geriatricians and pediatric sub-specialists, according to the release.

Retaining in-state medical school graduates and residents is the most effective way to increase the number of physicians in Texas. Eighty percent of Texas medical school graduates who complete their residencies in Texas stay in the state to practice medicine, according to a Texas Hospital Association news release.

"At a time when hospitals are facing an increased financial burden from a growing number of uninsured patients and state and federal funding cuts, they contribute substantial financial resources to cover the costs of training future physicians," said Dr. Dan Stultz, president of the Texas Hospital Association in the release. "Sustaining and building this investment will be essential to ensure that there are enough physicians to meet the health care needs of all Texans."

According to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, Texas needs an additional 220 residency positions in 2014 and an increasing number thereafter.

Without an increase in the number of first-year residency slots, 63 Texas medical school graduates will have to conduct their residency training out of state. By 2016, the number triples, according to the release.

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