NAMPA — Idaho ranks 49th in the nation for primary care physicians per capita. That's according to Family Medicine Residency of Idaho, which is hoping a new residency program will help to fix that.
By 2028, the state of Idaho hopes to increase its total medical residents by nearly 300 percent. That's why Family Medicine Residency of Idaho teamed up with St. Luke’s hospital in Nampa to launch a medical residency program early this month.
"The purpose of the plan is to really bring aspiring medical professionals to Idaho to help them stay, hopefully stay in Idaho to provide service delivery to areas that need it most," said Randall Brumfield, Chief Academic Officer for the Idaho State Board of Education.
There are many areas, rural or not, across Idaho that need those services. Family Medicine Residency of Idaho says Canyon County in particular, has only 1 primary care physician for every 3,300 individuals.
"We are a rurally focused program, preparing residents to do broad scope family medicine throughout the state of Idaho," said Kim Stutzman, Program Director for FMRI in Nampa.
The State Board of Education said they just need to make sure to remain appealing for potential residents.
"I thought, where do they do family medicine best and where they need the most family medicine docs, and Idaho checks that box," said Alyssa Griffin, first year resident at FMRI in Nampa.
And it's not just family medicine the state of Idaho needs, it’s nearly every type of doctor.
"There's really no specific area, cause there's a great need for all, and not just with internal medicine and family medicine, but also with psychiatry," said Brumfield.
The state of Idaho recognized this need, therefore implementing Idaho's Ten Year Graduate Medical Education Plan, designed to grow residency programs in Idaho from 141 residents in training in 2017, to 356 residents in training by 2028. A nearly 256 percent increase.
"One of the best ways to go about doing that is to provide the stipends necessary, competitive stipends, to bring those students here to be able to practice," said Brumfield.
And while adding residents in training to the state is a bonus, the real success is getting a good portion of those residents to stay and practice in our state.
"The best way to get a physician to stay in our state, is to train them here," said Stutzman.
Historically, that's been true. Of all Family Medicine Residency of Idaho students, 53 percent are practicing in Idaho.