HealthPartners residency program to increase family medicine physicians in rural northwest Wisconsin areas
BLOOMINGTON, Minn. — A new family medicine residency program in the St. Croix Valley is designed to increase the number of physicians who practice in rural and underserved areas of Wisconsin. The program, called the Methodist Hospital Family Medicine Residency Program Rural Training Track, is administered by HealthPartners Institute for Education and Research, and is expected to add an additional physician to a northwestern Wisconsin region every year beginning in 2021. *The program will begin in 2018 with the training of one resident.
During the first year of the three year residency program, residents will train at Methodist Hospital in St. Louis Park, Minn. During the second and third year of the program, the resident will train at Amery Hospital & Clinic and Westfields Hospital & Clinic in New Richmond. During the program, all residents will have a rotation at Hudson Hospital & Clinic. The three participating Wisconsin hospitals are all HealthPartners’ critical access hospitals. For more information about critical access hospitals, visit worh.org/critical-access-hospital-information.
A 2011 report from the Wisconsin Hospital Association estimated that the state will need to train or recruit an additional 100 physicians a year through 2030 to meet projected demand for health care. “This program means that in coming years, more patients will not have to wait to see a doctor or have to drive longer distances to get care,” says Andrew Dorwart, MD, HealthPartners St. Croix Valley Medical Director.
Adding support for the program, Deb Rudquist, President and CEO of Amery Hospital & Clinic, says “This program meets a critical need in our community because one of the best predictors of where a physician will locate a practice is where he or she completes a medical residency.” An estimated half of physicians locate in the same state and often in the same town where they complete a residency according the Rural Health Research Center. The first resident in the program will begin practicing at Amery Hospital & Clinic in 2019; a resident will begin training at Westfields in 2020.
The three-year program is being implemented through a $750,000 grant from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services. HealthPartners Institute for Education and Research trains more than 400 medical residents each year.
Founded in 1957, HealthPartners is the largest consumer-governed, non-profit health care organization in the nation. HealthPartners serves more than 1.4 million medical and dental health plan members nationwide. The care system includes more than 1,700 physicians, seven hospitals, 55 primary care clinics, 23 urgent care locations and numerous specialty practices in Minnesota and western Wisconsin. HealthPartners Clinic, Park Nicollet Clinic, Stillwater Medical Group, Physicians Neck & Back Center and virtuwell.com are all part of HealthPartners. In addition, HealthPartners Dental Group has more than 70 dentists and 22 dental clinics. HealthPartners also provides medical education and conducts research through its Institute for Education and Research. For more information, visit www.healthpartners.com.