Texas Loses Precious Residency Spots As UNTHSC-affiliated Program Shutters

A residency program associated with the UNT Health Science Center has closed its doors.

The Wichita Falls Family Medicine Residency Program officially shut down at the end of June.

According to a UNTHSC spokesperson, the program’s sponsor—North Central Texas Medical Foundation—made the decision. A story from the Wichita Falls Times Record News details the steps that led to it; the trouble started when NCTMF and the Community Healthcare Center, which was managing the program, cut ties.

The dagger came when Wichita Falls-based United Regional Health Care System pulled its support. Without the backing of a teaching hospital, a committee of the program voted to shut it down in May,  according to the Times Record News.

Two dozen residents were due back on July 1 for years two or three of the program. The UNT Health Science Center worked with them to find new placements, according to a spokesperson. All affected residents found new positions.

Meanwhile, CHC and United Regional scrambled to sign a deal that will provide new avenues of care for the 8,000 patients impacted, the TRN reports.

In May, UNT Health Science Center announced a deal to partner with Medical City Healthcare to create 500 new residency spots over the next seven years. They’ll be spread across Medical City’s 14 hospitals in Dallas-Fort Worth.

Those positions will help UNT Health Science Center do its part to balance the number of in-state med students against the number of residencies in Texas, a concern for regulators. The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board has a goal that the state has 1.1 graduate medical education positions (residencies) per med school slot. Adding residencies is viewed as a step toward addressing the state’s physician shortage.

UNTHSC takes 230 medical students each enrollment period at the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine. The first, 60-person class at the TCU and UNTHSC School of Medicine is expected to start in summer 2019.