KODE Medical Focus: Family Medicine Residency

JOPLIN, Mo. — When you need medical advice, your family physician is likely the first person you turn to. But there’s a growing gap between the need for those doctors and the number actually practicing medicine.

“You know, a lot of our physicians are aging out,” said Dr. Rob McNab, FHS VP Med. Ed.

But there are more and more patients needing medical help. It’s a problem both in the Four States but also around the country.

“They’re predicting by around 2030 that we’re going to have somewhere between 35 and 50,000, primary care physician shortage in this country. And really, that is just not acceptable,” said Dr. McNab.

Now Freeman Health System is bringing back its family medicine residency program to help train more local physicians.

“And so putting that back in place allows us to really address this need for a lot more family practitioners.”

The three year residency will include a wide range of experiences for the new doctors.

“You know, they start off with more of the acute care setting, hospital rotations, internal medicine, surgery, that sort of thing. And as they go through the three years, the emphasis becomes much bigger on the outpatient side.”

The process started with a needs assessment about five years ago. It’s now accredited and ready to find the residents who will fill the first class.

“So we are currently in the recruitment process. So we will know by somewhere late March April, who our new young family practitioner residents will be,” added Dr. McNab.

The Freeman Family Medicine residency program will eventually have a total of 15 doctors in training.

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