Danbury Hospital Receives $1.2 million Grant to Train Primary Care Physicians
Danbury Hospital has received a $1.2 million grant to establish an innovative primary care residency program at a time when the nation faces a severe shortage of primary care physicians that experts predict will soon worsen.
Danbury Hospital is one of only two Connecticut institutions and eight in the nation to receive funding for a primary care residency program from the Health Resources and Services Administration in the US Department of Health and Human Services.
“We welcome the opportunity to establish a model for training primary care physicians that meets the national priority to expand our primary care workforce and increase access to health care,” said Ramin Ahmadi, MD, Director of Medical Education at Danbury Hospital.
John Murphy, MD, president and chief executive officer of Danbury Hospital, said the grant “demonstrates that we have the resources and infrastructure to train the next generation of primary care physicians. This is an important community investment and another example of our commitment to high-quality, safe patient care.”
A leader in physician training
The five-year federal grant enables Danbury Hospital to establish a three-year residency program for a total of 18 candidates with six primary care physicians graduating each year. Four physicians have begun training at the hospital already.
As part of the grant, Danbury Hospital will partner with the Greater Danbury Community Health Center, a federally funded community health center that provides medical services to people who lack health insurance and have limited financial resources.
This is the second new residency program to be implemented at Danbury Hospital this year. The hospital established a surgical residency program in the spring. As a regional university teaching hospital, Danbury Hospital now has residency programs in primary care, surgery, medicine, pathology and obstetrics/gynecology, plus fellowship programs in cardiology and laparoscopic surgery.
Demand to increase as physician shortage grows
The grant comes at a time when the nation faces a critical shortage of primary care physicians that is expected to worsen in the coming years. The money comes from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act also known as the nation’s “stimulus package.”
The Association of Medical Colleges estimates the nation will lack 124,000 physicians by 2025, with primary care physicians representing 37 percent of the shortage. The Danbury area faces a similar shortage which will worsen as a growing number of primary care physicians retire.
Exacerbating the problem is that 32 million Americans who are currently uninsured will have health insurance coverage by 2019 as a result of health care reform.
“Millions of Americans will have health insurance, but they won’t be able to find a primary care physician,” noted Dr. Ahmadi.
Medical home model wave of future
Physicians in Danbury Hospital’s primary care residency program will be trained in the “patient-centered medical home” or PCMH model that is expected to become the cornerstone for patient care in the future as health care reform takes hold.
A PCMH is a team-based model of care led by a personal physician who provides continuous and coordinated care throughout a patient’s lifetime to maximize health, according to the American College of Physicians. The personal physician leads a team that takes responsibility for patient care by providing for all of a patient’s health care needs or appropriately arranging care with other qualified clinicians.
“This is an innovative approach to primary care,” said Dr. Ahmadi, “that we hope our residents will continue to use when they go on to practice in the community.”
For more information about Danbury Hospital or to find a doctor, visit DanburyHospital.org, or call us toll-free at 1-800-516-3658.
About Danbury Hospital
Danbury Hospital is a 371-bed regional medical center and university teaching hospital associated with the University of Vermont College of Medicine, the Yale University School of Medicine, the University of Connecticut School of Medicine and Columbia University Medical Center. The hospital provides centers of excellence in cardiovascular services, cancer, weight loss surgery, orthopedics, digestive disorders, radiology and diagnostic imaging. It also offers specialized programs for sleep disorders and asthma management and is nationally recognized for providing a high level of care to Women by HealthGrades®. Medical staff members are board-certified in their specialties, and most serve on the faculty of the nation’s finest medical centers offering a higher level of experience.