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Medical schools to grow residency programs
e-Reports, June 1, 2015
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With funding from the Indiana General Assembly, officials in Evansville are moving forward with a unique medical education center that will increase the state’s residency slots by nearly 100.

Expanding GME
The Evansville and Gary programs will benefit from creation of the Medical Residency Education Fund recently passed by the state legislature.

The new law creates the Graduate Medical Education (GME) Board tasked with providing funding and technical assistance to entities pursuing a residency program. The board also may require entities receiving an infrastructure grant to match funds equal to at least 25 percent of money provided.

“Studies show that over 70 percent of residents remain in areas where they train,” explained Mike Rinebold, ISMA director of Government Relations. “Creation of the GME Board will increase training opportunities and add more physicians to Indiana communities. Indiana faces a shortage of residency positions, which means the state is losing its investment in medical students to other states.”

The $25.2 million multi-institutional academic health science education campus will be located in the city’s downtown near Deaconess Hospital. It will house IU School of Medicine (IUSM)-Evansville, as well as graduate medical education programs from University of Evansville and University of Southern Indiana. Construction will begin July 2016.

Recent changes in the health care industry have highlighted a need for new models of collaborative clinical care, according to Steven Becker, MD, director and associate dean of IUSM-Evansville.

“This new collaboration begins in medical education where students from all care team disciplines learn to communicate and rely on each other before they enter the workforce,” said Dr. Becker. “Our model of bringing together multiple institutions in tandem with expanding residency programming will build a regional pipeline to deliver high quality patient care to the citizens of Indiana.”

Complementary programs include:

  • Nursing
  • Dentistry and dental assisting
  • Occupational therapy
  • Physician assistance
  • Physical therapy (up to Ph.D. level)

Financial contributions include:

  • Indiana University, $19.2 million
  • University of Evansville, $6 million
  • University of Southern Indiana, $6 million
  • City of Evansville, $50 million

“This project is about improving access to health care, training and retaining physicians and medical professionals in the community, with an added benefit of boosting the economic viability of the entire region,” said Mayor Winnecke.

School Plan
Click the image for a larger version.

Already, officials from IU School of Medicine (IUSM) at IU Northwest are looking to replicate this effort. Dr. Becker and other Evansville officials have collaborated with Pat Bankston, Ph.D., associate dean and director of IUSM at IU Northwest, and other area stakeholders.

“We are not looking to build a facility,” explained Dr. Bankston. “Our missing piece is the residency program. With 12 hospitals in our area, I think we can add more residency slots than Evansville. The local community is very enthusiastic about this.”

Dr. Bankston is working to raise money for a feasibility study to help identify specialties for the proposed residency program.

“We already partner with local hospitals, and we are blessed to have 250 volunteer physicians currently working with our medical students. So, it is kind of natural to pursue a residency program,” he said. “This has the potential to improve health care in Indiana, and our local physicians can use it as a recruitment tool. It’s a win-win.”

Find the Evansville feasibility study here.

Economic impact of graduate medical education programs*
  • Each physician who stays in a community after training generates $1.5 million in annual economic impact and six additional jobs in the community.
  • Hospitals with residency programs are stronger financially, provide more free care, have higher quality scores and offer a broader range of services.
  • Communities within 100 miles of a primary care residency program have significantly more physicians per capita.
  • The typical hospital with a residency program in internal medicine saves approximately $3 million each year in uncompensated care.
  • Residents who stay to practice in underserved communities save approximately $3.6 million in unnecessary hospitalizations due to better care coordination.

*Study by Tripp Umbach Consulting. Read more here.

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