Orange Park Medical Center held its first doctor graduation ceremony Thursday evening.
Nationally, between 50 and 70 percent of graduating doctors end up practicing in the communities where they trained, according to the American Association of Medical Colleges. Orange Park Medical Center’s Chief Medical Officer Joseph Parra is hoping that eventually holds true for the new graduates with an expected physician shortage looming.
“Tonight we have two family medicine residents that will be graduating in addition to 14 transitional year residents, which is an intern year. Then they’ll go off and complete further training at other facilities,” he said.
Parra said the two family medicine residents are likely to stay in the area now, and his hospital is planning to add students in the near future.
“General surgery, psychiatry and emergency medicine are the three new programs that we’re looking at bringing on board,” he said. “Further down the road we’re looking at potentially expanding even more, but we’re taking it … one step at a time.”
Florida Lawmakers this year approved an extra $17 million in funding for 1,000 more residency slots statewide — going from $180 million in 2016 to $197 million in 2017. Hospital training is funded by Medicaid and Medicare reimbursements.
Another AAMC study found in 2014 that Florida has the ninth lowest resident-to-patient ratio in the country — around 20 for every 100,000 patients. The national average was 37 and New York had 82.