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HealthPartners residency program to increase family medicine physicians in rural northwest Wisconsin areas

December 23, 2015

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 or 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.

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 Medical Center, 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 Medical Center 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.

About HealthPartners

Founded in 1957, the HealthPartners family of health care companies serves more than one million medical and dental health plan members nationwide. It is the largest consumer-governed, nonprofit health care organization in the nation, providing care, coverage, research and education to improve the health of members, patients and the community.

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