Gov. Rick Scott stopped in St. Petersburg Wednesday to promote a new state program for doctors in training.
The legislature this spring set aside $80 million to expand medical residency programs at hospitals across the state, including All Children’s Hospital in St.Petersburg. That hospital and nine others in the Tampa Bay region are eligible to receive $13 million of the total.
Medical students spend the final three to five years of their training as residents, practicing under the supervision of staff physicians. Hospitals depend on federal funding to help cover some of the salary, benefits and malpractice insurance costs for residents.
Though Florida is the fourth most populous state, the number of residents practicing in the state is half the national average.
That money and the number of residents in Florida, however, have been stagnant for years. Scott said the new program also addresses a surplus of medical students already studying at state universities, and a demand from hospitals that want to hire more residents.
“This program is the first of its kind to coordinate with hospitals on supporting their medical education programs and will ensure we keep more of our medical school graduates here in the Sunshine State,” Scott said in a statement.
The $1.3 million being given to All Children’s residency programs is the third largest amount distributed in the Tampa Bay area. Tampa General Hospital, which includes more than 300 residents from the University of South Florida’s College of Medicine, is receiving $5.1 million. Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa gets $1.9 million.
Wednesday’s visit was Scott’s third stop to promote the program. In the past two months, he’s highlighted the local impact in Tallahassee and South Florida. Fifteen hospitals in Miami-Dade and Broward County will receive more than $33 million.