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Hospital Group Hopes New Residency Slots Will Help Address Doctor Shortage

hospital workers in hospital
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

Florida is facing some serious doctor shortages in the next decade because of growth and an aging population. A statewide hospital network hopes more residency slots will help.

The Safety Net Hospital Alliance of Floridais hoping to boost the number of doctors in Florida by creating 66 medical residencies for new doctors.

There are shortages in specialties like psychiatry, cardiology, family medicine, anesthesia, general surgery, pulmonology and neurology, and Florida's growth and aging population means a greater demand for doctors.

Lindy Kennedy, vice president of the alliance, said educating more doctors in Florida increases the chance they'll stay here long-term.

“A physician generally lives and sets up practice and starts a family in the geographic area or city or state where they do their residency,” Kennedy said.

Kennedy also said Florida schools are graduating more soon-to-be doctors than there are residency slots.

"We are, in essence, exporting many of our prospective physicians to do their training in other states,” Kennedy said.

Hospitals with the new positions will receive a one-time bonus of $100,000 per slot Graduate Medical Education Startup Bonus Program established in 2015 by the Florida Legislature to help them cover the roughly $200,000 a year that residencies cost.

The $100 million startup bonus program was funded through $39.5 million in local intergovernmental
transfers from hospitals, which draw down an additional $60.5 million in federal funding.

Money not used for startup bonuses will be distributed proportionately to existing residency slots in shortage.

The new residency positions are in addition to the 477 residency slots added since the Statewide
Medicaid Residency Program was created in 2013. The program dedicates $80 million in recurring state
and federal funds to help hospitals serving large numbers of Medicaid patients offset the expense of
physician training programs.

Daylina Miller is a multimedia reporter for WUSF and Health News Florida, covering health in the Tampa Bay area and across the state.