State program dedicates portion of tobacco taxes to expanding health care workforce
San Diego CA— Scripps Mercy Hospital San Diego has received a $360,000 CalMedForce grant from Physicians for a Healthy California to help fund two internal medicine residency positions in 2020. Money for the grant program comes from a $2-per-pack tobacco tax that was approved by California voters in 2016.
The CalMedForce grant creates more opportunity to expand the number of physicians who train and stay in the local community, said Paul Han, M.D., associate director of Scripps Mercy’s residency program.
Noting the hospital’s important role providing care to the region’s underserved population, Dr. Han said Scripps Mercy residents quickly become adept at providing care to patients who often have psychiatric and social challenges that complicate their already complex array of diseases that are often preventable.
“They really are the unsung heroes at Scripps, and many of them continue to work in the underserved patient community upon completion of their training,” he said.
California will have a 4,100-physician shortfall by 2025, according to an estimate by the California Future Health Workforce Commission. Medical school graduates must complete training in an accredited, specialty-specific graduate medical education residency program before they are able to care for patients independently. Increased funding for such programs is one of the strategies being used to address the expected physician shortage in the coming years.
In this latest CalMedForce funding round, $38 million in residency awards were granted to 89 hospitals and clinics in the state, with an emphasis on graduate medical education programs focused on medically underserved patients and communities.
“CalMedForce helps grow and strengthen our physician workforce to meet the demands of California’s growing and changing patient population,” said Lupe Alonzo-Diaz, president and CEO of Physicians for a Healthy California. “Research also shows that physicians are more likely to practice where they complete residency programs, demonstrating an opportunity to address access to care challenges in underserved communities.”
During a previous funding round earlier this year, Scripps Mercy Hospital Chula Vista received a $225,000 grant to help fund a family medicine residency position at that location.
Scripps Health offers a wide range of graduate medical residency and fellowship programs at Scripps Mercy, Scripps Green Hospital and Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla. Program specialties include family practice, internal medicine, pharmacy, podiatry, cardiology, endocrinology, gastroenterology, hematology, immunology and rheumatology.
About Scripps Health
Founded in 1924 by philanthropist Ellen Browning Scripps, Scripps Health is a nonprofit integrated health care delivery system based in San Diego, Calif. Scripps treats more than 750,000 patients annually through the dedication of 3,000 affiliated physicians and more than 15,000 employees among its five acute-care hospital campuses, home health care services, 28 outpatient centers and clinics, and hundreds of affiliated physician offices throughout the region.
Recognized as a leader in disease and injury prevention, diagnosis and treatment, Scripps is also at the forefront of clinical research. With three highly respected graduate medical education programs, Scripps is a longstanding member of the Association of American Medical Colleges. Scripps has been ranked five times as one of the nation’s best health care systems by Truven Health Analytics. Its hospitals are ranked No. 1 in San Diego County and among the best in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. Scripps also is recognized by Advisory Board, Fortune and Working Mother magazine as one of the best places in the nation to work. More information can be found at www.scripps.org.