HCA West Florida Division
November 17, 2017

Affiliation to help fill gap in residency positions needed to meet state’s demand for highly trained physician workforce

Tampa, FL – The USF Health Morsani College of Medicine and HCA West Florida have formed a consortium to increase much needed graduate medical education in the Tampa Bay region, and to help address Florida’s looming physician shortage fueled by the state’s growing population and its accompanying demand for health services.

The new affiliation agreement establishes a joint USF-HCA Graduate Medical Education (GME) Consortium to serve as the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) sponsor for HCA West Florida’s GME programs. There are approximately 420 residents currently training in HCA West Florida’s 33 residency programs across the Tampa Bay region, and HCA plans to grow its training programs to 800 residents over the next five years.

The new consortium will not affect the University of South Florida’s 57 residency programs with more than 325 residents at Tampa General Hospital, the university’s primary teaching affiliate.  This 325 resident total includes positions which are supported by federal funding for graduate medical education as well as positions that are funded solely by TGH.

“USF’s continuing and primary relationship with Tampa General remains vital, as does our partnerships with Moffitt Cancer Center, James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital, Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital and other teaching affiliates that help strengthen our mission as the region’s only academic medical center,” said Charles J. Lockwood, MD, senior vice president for USF Health and dean of the Morsani College of Medicine. “Through this GME consortium, USF will work with HCA to provide superior educational resources needed to train and retain more medical school graduates, especially those from Florida, and to prepare the next generation of highly qualified physicians.”

The GME Consortium will be led by four members from USF and four members from HCA West Florida hospitals. USF Health will provide unpaid collaborative faculty appointments to HCA-employed or community physicians who qualify to teach residents employed by the HCA hospitals. The teaching faculty and residents will have access to USF Health resources for which the HCA hospitals will compensate the university.  These include medical research library services, educational video conferences, and the state-of-the-art Center for Advanced Medical Learning and Simulation (CAMLS), as well as faculty development and research opportunities.

The seven HCA West Florida hospitals currently with residency programs are: Blake Medical Center (Manatee County); Brandon Regional Hospital (Hillsborough County); Largo Medical Center, Northside Hospital, and St. Petersburg General Hospital (Pinellas County); Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point (Pasco County); and Oak Hill Hospital (Hernando County).

GME/residency is the medical training that occurs after a student receives an MD or DO degree, typically three to seven years at teaching hospitals and their associated ambulatory settings.  In 2014, the allopathic (MD) and osteopathic (DO) medical communities agreed to transition to a single accreditation system for all GME programs in the United States by June 30, 2020. As a result, in addition to its existing ACGME accredited programs, HCA will continue to transition its residencies with American Osteopathic Association accreditation to ACGME accreditation. USF Health will provide assistance and academic resources to HCA West Florida’s participating hospitals for this accreditation transition.

“Our goal is to train highly-skilled physicians to care for and improve human life in the communities we serve and partnerships, like that with USF, enable us to meet and exceed that goal,” said Peter Marmerstein, FACHE, President of HCA West Florida.

Nationally, Florida ranks 41st among 50 states in the number of residency positions for every 100,000 persons, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC).  Historically, there have not been enough residency spots in Florida for all of Florida’s graduating medical school students to stay here to do their residencies. Even with state incentive funding to support residency positions in physician specialties with the greatest need, GME expansion has not kept pace with accelerating enrollment growth at medical schools. This has contributed to ramping up competition for existing residency slots, especially in highly desired specialties. The AAMC projects that by 2021, enrollment of first-year students at MD- and DO-granting schools will reach 31,025, representing a 59 percent increase over 2002 first-year enrollment.

That means the majority of qualified medical school graduates, including approximately 60 percent of USF’s graduating medical students, leave Florida to obtain their choice of residency programs in other states – and more often than not they do not return. Studies have shown that the geographic areas where physicians complete their residency training are usually where they decide to stay and work.

The shortfall in residency positions in Florida (and to varying extents nationwide), along with a growing 65-plus population and aging physician workforce, feeds a shortage of doctors to treat the state’s citizens.  The AAMC projects that the United States will confront a total shortage of 61,700 to 94,700 primary and specialty care doctors by 2025. In Florida, the projected shortage is fueled by a large proportion of physicians nearing retirement age -- the state’s 2016 Physician Workforce Annual Report cites that more than a third of physicians are age 60 or older.

“By combining resources and a shared commitment to high-quality graduate medical education, HCA West Florida and USF Health’s programs will attract the best and the brightest to this region, ensuring that we can provide our citizens with exceptional care for years to come,” said Frederick Schiavone, MD, FACEP, DIO & Vice President, GME, HCA West Florida.

USF Health

USF Health's mission is to envision and implement the future of health. It is the partnership of the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine, the College of Nursing, the College of Public Health, the College of Pharmacy, the School of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Sciences, the Biomedical Sciences Graduate and Postdoctoral Programs, and the USF Physicians Group. The University of South Florida, established in 1956 and located in Tampa, is a high-impact, global research university dedicated to student success. USF is ranked in the Top 30 nationally for research expenditures among public universities, according to the National Science Foundation. For more information, visit www.health.usf.edu.

HCA West Florida

HCA West Florida provides a complete continuum of high quality programs and services to meet the healthcare needs of residents and businesses along Florida’s west coast, caring for more than 1.2 million patients last year.  HCA West Florida includes 16 hospitals on 18 campuses, 21 ER locations, 14 ambulatory surgery centers, numerous physician practices, 21 graduate medical education programs, a regional lab, and consolidated service center.  HCA West Florida is affiliated with HCA Healthcare, a national leader in providing comprehensive, integrated healthcare services in 20 states and the United Kingdom.