Ten begin hospital’s internal medicine residency program

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On July 1, 10 enthusiastic residents sporting white lab coats began a three-year internal medicine residency program.

The program is recognized by the Accredited Council of Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), and is provided by Oak Hill Hospital.
Yvonne Braver, program director of internal medicine, presents residents with lab coats at a reception held inside the new GME facility at Oak Hill Hospital on June 27. KIM DAME

It took Oak Hill nearly three years to launch the program, from an initial presentation of the idea to the hospital’s board to the facility’s grand opening June 27. Oak Hill maintains it is a first-of-its-kind residency education program in Hernando County.

This is the only Graduate Medical Education program with superior accreditations to be offered in the Nature Coast, said Yvonne Braver, program director of internal medicine.

Hernando County needs more general medicine physicians, Braver said. The goal of the program is to bring qualified doctors to the county immediately and hopefully to retain most or all of them after their residencies are completed.

The new program will affect the community in various ways, providing jobs, more physicians in the marketplace and a higher level of patient care services to the community, said Richard Linkul, the hospital’s marketing director. “We are all about quality. Quality equals superior patient care,” he said.

The residents train under specialized physicians. They will provide care under supervision inside the hospital as well as in the community.

Through partnerships with Access Health Care and the Crescent Clinic, residents will gain experience working with different types of patients and in various environments.

“At least a third and probably closer to 40 percent of their time is in outpatient care,” said Braver.

They completed all of their education and passed all required testing to receive their M.D. status. After completing the three-year residency program they will be board certified in internal medicine.

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Residents will learn procedures at a lab at the University of South Florida before they practice on patients, Braver said. “The most complex and difficult procedures will be practiced on mannequins,” she said.

Every step of the residency program is monitored, with supervising physicians and a team structure designed to provide the highest quality of patient care.

The program accepts 10 residents a year with a process that works through the Electronic Residents Administrative Service and the National Resident Match Program. Out of 450 applicants, 112 were interviewed and 87 were ranked before the 10 were selected.

In three years, the program will have 30 residents. For Oak Hill that will mean 24/7 residency coverage, hospital officials say.

Braver has been a practicing physician for 20 years, and she said her passion is providing the best training for future doctors. She has seen dramatic changes in how residents receive their training. “It’s very different. It’s much kinder and gentler on residents,” she said.

There now are limits on how long residents are allowed to be on active duty. And the residents’ internal medicine program at Oak Hill sets residents’ limits at one hour less than the maximum allowed.

“We’re trying to focus on high value care and using the most significant clinical evidence while we provide care so that it’s scientifically sound,” Braver said.

Two weeks into the residency program, “Everyone is still smiling,” Braver said.