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USF Partners With HCA To Train Doctors In West Florida

Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

The University of South Florida has formed a partnership with a network of hospitals to train more doctors in the Tampa Bay area.

The consortium with HCA West Florida could help with the state's looming physician shortage and help the hospital chain keep more qualified doctors in the Tampa Bay area.

The alliance will allow USF to expand its residency programs to seven hospitals operated by HCA from Hernando to Manatee counties. HCA also plans to more than double the residents it trains to more than 1,000 in the next five years. 

“The incredible resource of the medical school now combined with our clinical resources of these hospitals will make for outstanding training programs in which I'm sure we'll be able to recruit some of the finest candidates to the Tampa Bay area,” said Dr. Frederick Schiavone, vice president of graduate medical education for HCA West Florida.

Florida is ranked 41st nationally in the number of residency positions per 100,000 people. The shortage of positions has pushed medical school graduates to hospitals in other states. And doctors tend to open practices in states where they complete their residencies, studies show.

That’s bad news for Florida, which is facing a shortage of about 7,000 doctors by 2025.

“What we’ll be able to do is recruit not only the finest candidates but ones that will continue to stay within our area and particularly within the state of Florida,” Schiavone said.

HCA physicians who teach the residents will have accesses to USF resources, including the medical research library and the hi-tech Center for Advanced Medical Learning and Simulation in downtown Tampa.

Along with resident programs, USF medical students will rotate through HCA hospitals during their fourth year electives.

“What we’d like to do is demonstrate the quality of the education experience that they have with HCA hospitals so they will chose HCA hospitals to come and do their residency programs, Schiavone said.

Julio Ochoa is editor of Health News Florida.