Growing medical residency workforce moves to new clinic

Download full press release here.

A new health clinic that will serve as a training site for new physicians and provide interdisciplinary opportunities for the region’s university students opened today, Monday, August 1.

The Spokane Teaching Health Center clinic, located on Washington State University Spokane’s Health Sciences campus, will be operated by Providence Health Care and supported by the consortium of Empire Health Foundation, Providence Health Care and Washington State University Spokane.

Joining in the move are 43 new medical residents who began work at Sacred Heart Medical Center in June, an increase of 10 residents over last year. It’s the third consecutive year of growth, thanks to the efforts of the consortium.

Overall, Spokane now has 99 medical residencies and fellowships, up from 74 just three years ago. Of the increase, 19 residents are training in family and internal medicine and are supported through the consortium while six residents are training in psychiatry and are supported through Providence.

The majority of these new doctors are moving from the Internal Medicine, Family Medicine and Psychiatry Residency clinics in the Fifth and Browne Medical Building to the new 42,000-square-foot Spokane Teaching Health Clinic (STHC), financed and built by WSU on its downtown Spokane campus at 624 E. Front Street.

In addition to growing residency slots, the consortium has a mission of integrating students and faculty from health sciences programs in the region into a team-based clinical environment, which is the future of health care.

Mike Nowling, a member of the Spokane Teaching Health Center Board of Directors, said the clinic will improve regional health and economic vitality. “The growth of residency slots for eastern Washington will be a great step forward. Add interdisciplinary training at the clinic and our community benefits even more.”

The Spokane Teaching Health Center consortium was formed in 2013 when the partners were awarded a $900,000 federal Teaching Health Center grant to create new medical residency slots for eastern Washington. U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell from Washington State joined in a bipartisan effort last year with their colleagues to extend the funding beyond its initial round of grants. This new source of funding medical residencies is significant since traditional Medicare funding for residency positions has been capped for nearly 20 years.

Washington State has an uneven distribution of residency slots, with nearly 1,500 of the state’s 1,600 positions in western Washington. The same is true in the distribution of physicians, with 49 percent practicing in the Seattle area where 29 percent of the population lives.

The maldistribution affects where physicians practice as the two main reasons for choosing to practice in an area are where a physician attended medical school and did his or her residency.


An Update on the Spokane Teaching Health Center

The Spokane Teaching Health Center (STHC) is a consortium formed in 2013 whose members (Empire Health Foundation, Providence Health Care and Washington State University Spokane) leverage institutional expertise to improve access to health care in the Inland Northwest, including increasing the number of medical residencies.

The goal of the STHC is to grow residencies in Eastern Washington by 60% in five years.  Increasing graduate medical education in our region is key to increasing physician supply – nationally, 49% of physicians practice where they did their residencies.

Check out the video below from our partners at WSU for an update on the STHC and its future home, the University District Health Clinic, slated to open in mid-2016.

Matt Layton of WSU Spokane and Traci Couture talk about the Spokane Teaching Health Consortium and the new teaching health clinic under construction on the WSU Spokane campus.

For a full update, download PDF versions of the STHC Overview and FAQs below.

Foundation Construction Nearly Complete on University District Health Clinic

The Spokesman Review's "The Dirt" section recently reported out on the progress of the new University District Health Clinic, which is being constructed as part of the Spokane Teaching Health Consortium's work to grow physician supply in Eastern Washington.  EHF is proud to partner with Providence Health Care and the Washington State University Spokane to transform Eastern Washington into the state's healthiest region!

Architect's rendering of University District Health Clinic, slated to open mid-2016.

Architect's rendering of University District Health Clinic, slated to open mid-2016.

Visit STHC's website to learn more about this public-private partnership, and click below to download the FAQs!

Originally posted by our friends at The Spokesman Review.

Foundation work is nearly complete for the $16 million University District Health Clinic, and Bouten Construction expects to start erecting structural steel next month.

The two-story, 42,000-square-foot clinic will be on the southeast edge of the Riverpoint Campus, directly south across the street from Schade Towers and east of The Bookie.

It is expected to open in mid-2016 at 624 E. Front Ave.

Brian Sayler, Bouten senior project manager, said preliminary site work started in May. The new building’s exterior will have brick and metal wall panels. The interior includes areas for 55 exam rooms, a gym for occupational and physical therapy services, behavioral health counseling, an X-ray imaging suite, and pharmacy.

The U-District clinic will be operated by a consortium of Providence, WSU Spokane and the Empire Health Foundation. It will provide a variety of health services and be a venue for medical residents to practice, along with nursing, pharmacy and other health sciences students from WSU and Eastern Washington University.

The residents and students will practice under the supervision of doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other providers and serve many of the same patients now cared for at two residency clinics in the Fifth and Browne Medical Center. Those clinics will close and move to the new site.

How we are partnering with Providence and WSU to grow physician supply

The Spokane Teaching Health Consortium is already achieving big results in growing the pipeline of primary care providers in Eastern Washington, and this document we produced with the other two consortium partners, Providence Health Care and Washington State University Spokane, aims to answer some of the most frequently asked questions about this work.  You can find the FAQs on the STHC website, or download the PDF below:

WSU Health Sciences Update features Spokane Teaching Health Consortium

Check out this video produced by our friends at Washington State University Health Sciences featuring EHF Board Chair Dr. Matt Layton and Spokane Teaching Health Consortium's Operations Director Traci Couture!  It gives a great overview of STHC's work to date, including groundbreaking on the University District Health Clinic (UDHC) which is slated to open in summer 2016.  The UDHC will be the new home for residents currently practicing at the Fifth and Browne Clinic, which sees around 35,000 patients per year, and it will include teaching space for interprofessional training.  The opportunity for this team-based training is crucial, as Matt explains:

What we know is that the reason that the team works is we all have our strengths, and we’re taking care of the one individual with these complex needs that permeate all of our specialties.

The result of robust partnership and collaboration between WSU Spokane, Providence Health Care, and EHF, the UDHC is poised to offer exactly this type of training in a community clinic setting, which means that these residents will be providing care to the Spokane community as part of their training.

Growing the number of graduate medical education residencies is one of the keys to growing physician supply here in Eastern Washington.  Watch the full video for more on the exciting developments in STHC's work!