Medical City Healthcare and the UNT Health Science Center are partnering to create 500 residency positions, the two sides announced on Monday.
The positions will help UNTHSC appease regulators over residency requirements as it seeks accreditation for its new medical school, a partnership with Texas Christian University. The residencies—and regulators’ requirements—address the physician shortage in Texas, a topic of increasing conversation in recent years.
“As we continue to add more medical schools, there’s a need to grow more residency training slots in Texas,” says Dr. Michael Williams, UNTHSC’s president.
The 500 resident positions will be developed over the next seven years across Medical City’s 14 Dallas-Fort Worth hospitals. In addition to the 230 med students UNTHSC takes at the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine each enrollment period, the school expects to take its first 60-person class at the TCU and UNTHSC School of Medicine in summer 2019.
Texas’ Higher Education Coordinating Board, which will visit the school in June and vote on approval in October, has a goal that the state have 1.1 graduate medical education (GME) positions to every med school slot.
Much conversation in recent years has centered on the physician shortage in Texas, and about whether the state is doing enough to create GME positions to keep up with increasing med school enrollment.
Keeping students close to home for residencies is a key step in addressing the state’s physician shortage numbers, which are most pronounced in rural areas. About 80 percent of Texas GMEs who graduated from Texas medical schools stay in-state to practice, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges.
The AAMC says Texas ranks 47th among the 50 states when it comes to primary care physicians per 100,000 people.
Medical City, which is the North Texas division of Nashville-based HCA Healthcare, has had residencies at Medical City Fort Worth in areas like cardiology, family medicine, general surgery, and internal medicine since 2000. It also offers internal medicine and dermatology residencies at Medical City Weatherford.
“Not only will this investment result in significant additional physician capacity, but we know that when we convert facilities into teaching hospitals patient care gets even better,” Medical City Healthcare President Erol Akdamar says in a statement.
Under a separate agreement, UNTHSC students at the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine, TCU and UNTHSC School of Medicine, UNT System College of Pharmacy, and the School of Health Professions will have access to clinical training opportunities at Medical City hospitals.
UNTHSC previously announced a clinical partnership with the Catalyst Health Network in late March. Williams says that relationship could broaden to include GMEs in the future.
Pending its approval from the Higher Education Coordinating Board and provisional accreditation, both scheduled to land in October, the TCU and UNTHSC School of Medicine is expecting to begin accepting applications in November, Williams says.