Making progress in cure to keep doctors here


For the first time in several years, the University of Toledo Medical Center has seen an increase in the
number of its medical school graduates who are wanting to stay in the area and complete residency
A year ago, only 6 percent of the graduates continued their residency education in the region, but this
year that number has doubled, according to Dr. Jeffrey Gold Provost and Executive Vice President for
Health Affairs and Dean of the College of Medicine at UT.
This statistic is an important one Gold said, in that when it comes to residency, typically a 50/50 rule
goes into effect. By this rule of thumb, 50 percent of graduates who complete their residencies in the
area are likely to begin their practice within 50 miles of where their training occurred.
For Northwest Ohio citizens, this means an increased likelihood for physicians who received their
eduction here to continue practicing nearby.
Reversing this trend of why physicians don’t stay in the area was a goal of the Commission on the Future
of Health Care Education and Retention in Northwest Ohio. The committee was headed by Ohio
Representative Randy Gardner (R-Bowling Green) along with several other politicians and health care
providers, as appointed by the governor, Speaker of the House and president of the Senate.
While the commission dissolved in May of 2008, its recommendations still stand in working toward keeping
doctors in the area, creating partnerships between medical systems and improving health care in
Northwest Ohio.
Some of the recommendations call for legislative action including: a loan repayment and forgiveness
program for students who establish practice in Northwest Ohio and faculty/preceptor compensation to help
defray cost of training medical students during clinical rotations.
Five other recommendations seek voluntary action from hospitals and health systems. These include:
establishing a graduate medical education oversight group, which would include quarterly meetings
between Mercy, ProMedica and St. Luke’s medical systems and the UT Medical Center; establishing a
graduate medical education scorecard; a non-leverage agreement signed by Mercy, ProMedica, St. Luke’s
and UT; coordination of slot allocations for residency programs; and preferential recruitment for UT
medical graduates.
"Northwest Ohio is really below the state average in terms of retaining physicians and residency
slots," Gardner said. "I don’t think we are behind in quality but we are behind in the kind of
numbers that provide better access to health care."
Perhaps not a direct result from the recommendations, Gold said the increase in graduates continuing
their education through residencies in the area has benefited from collaboration between UT and various
medical systems, which is a recommendation made by the commission.
"This university has well over a dozen major partnerships with hospitals," he said, including
ProMedica and Mercy and St. Luke’s health systems.
Making partnerships a win-win situation for both the university and health care providers is key in
success of establishing residency programs. A "win-win" situation occurs when a hospital
system is dedicated to the principles of academic medicine and recognize the need to educate the next
generation of physicians, Gold explained. But also, a two-fold benefit is that health systems can also
stay up on the latest health care practices in having newly educated graduates among their ranks.
"It is really willing minds and willing leaders in the health care field coming together for the
good of the community," Gardner said. "The commission made some progress, but for the most
part, the commission was not able to wrestle that problem to the ground. It’s still there."

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