Teaching health centers get $12M to train primary care docs

The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) awarded $12 million in healthcare reform funds to train more than 300 primary care residents at 32 teaching health centers during the 2013 -2014 academic year, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services has announced.

The awards will help train twice as many residents than in the previous academic year. And thanks to the federal funding, 21 states now have teaching health centers, up from 14 in 2012.

"This program not only provides training to primary care medical and dental residents, but also galvanizes communities," HRSA Administrator Mary K. Wakefield, Ph.D., R.N. said in the announcement. "It brings hospitals, academic centers, health centers, and community organizations together to provide top-notch medical education and services in areas of the country that need them most."

Among the awards, $750,000 will go to three teaching health centers in Washington State for training new doctors in family and internal medicine, pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, psychiatry, and general and pediatric dentistry, the Puget Sound Business Journal reported.

The primary care training funds come amid claims that "top hospitals" ranked by magazines and websites are the worst at producing trained primary care physicians. Of the 759 U.S. institutions with residency training programs, 158 produce zero graduates that plan on going into primary care, with the worst offenders including Mass General, New York Presbyterian, Cleveland Clinic and Brigham and Women's, FierceHealthcare previously reported.

Meanwhile, last spring the American Hospital Association and more than 120 organizations called for the House and Senate Appropriations committees to give HRSA at least $7 billion to support training for public health and healthcare professionals, rural access and children's health.

For more:
- here's the HHS announcement
- read the Business Journal article