12915 salud pix 1State Health Agency Increases Access to Health Care in Northwest Wisconsin

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services is pleased to announce a new graduate medical education program to serve one of the most underserved areas of the state.

“Data tells us that within the next few years, there will be fewer and fewer physicians serving Northwest Wisconsin,” said DHS Secretary Kitty Rhoades. “Research confirms that recruiting medical students with existing or prior ties to the state coupled with residencies in in these rural and underserved areas significantly increased the odds that the new physicians will return to the same areas to practice.”

A new partnership of several critical access hospitals, a health plan and a university sponsor will support establishment of a new family medicine residency program in the St. Croix Valley area.  Among the partners are: Amery Hospital & Clinic, Hudson Hospital & Clinic and Westfields Hospital & Clinic in New Richmond. HealthPartners Institute for Education and Research and Methodist Hospital will serve as academic partners.

“I am delighted to see these small rural hospitals and their academic partners step up to address the dearth of primary care physicians serving rural areas,” said Rhoades. “This is an exciting effort that we encourage other stakeholders to replicate.”

Development of the new rural program is supported by a grant from DHS. It is one of ten efforts currently underway across the state to increase the number of physicians practicing in rural and underserved areas. The DHS grants, authorized by Act 20, target five specialties: family medicine, general internal medicine, general surgery, pediatrics and psychiatry.