HHSC Primary Care Training Program Achieves Accreditation Milestone

Hilo, Hawaii – On Tuesday, October 22, 2013 the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) informed Hilo Medical Center officials that its Hawaii Island Family Medicine Residency program has met the requirements for a 2-year accreditation, effective July 1, 2014. The program, legislatively known as the Hawaii Health Systems Corporation Primary Care Training Program (HHSC PCTP), is now gearing up to attract candidates who are interested in learning the art of Family Medicine along with a team of pharmacists, nurses, nurse practitioners and psychologists. It will welcome the first class of four residents in the summer. News of the accreditation was met with excitement throughout the Hilo Medical Center.  

“The accreditation of the HHSC Primary Care Training Program is one of the most important milestones in the history of our program,” said Howard Ainsley, East Hawaii Regional CEO of HHSC. “Thanks to the collective effort to achieve accreditation, we will be able to move forward in solving the primary care physician shortage in our state and bring better health outcomes to our community.”  

“I am so excited that this final piece of the training program has fallen into place,” said Dr. Kristine McCoy, Hawaii Island Family Medicine Residency Director. “Beginning in 2017, we will graduate at least four new family physicians into the community along with their teams of colleagues from the other disciplines. In the meantime, these resident physicians and our faculty will play a significant role in caring for the people of East Hawaii in many settings, including the clinic, the hospital, our community’s long term care facilities, and in hospice care. I would like to encourage anyone interested in learning about our program to visit our new website at www.hifmr.org.”  

According to a report by the “Hawai’i Physician Workforce Assessment Project” presented at the 2013 Legislative Session, Hawaii Island saw a 34 percent physician shortage in 2012 with 341 physicians in supply compared to 514 physicians in demand or needed to adequately care for the island’s population. Statewide, the shortage was 18 percent or 2,955 physicians in supply compared to 3,590 physicians in demand. Among other findings, the report concluded the physician shortages were especially acute in the area of primary care.  

Supporters of the HHSC PCTP created a wave of momentum during the 2013 state legislative session that saw House Bill 417 appropriating $1.8 million to the program signed and released by then acting Governor Shan Tsutsui in August and October, respectively. HMC officials, with the Hilo Medical Center Foundation, garnered legislative support through outreach to the community, local businesses and county and state legislators. Preparations for the 2014 legislative session are underway to seek sustained funding for the program.  

Earlier this year, the HHSC PCTP was the beneficiary of proceeds raised from the Rotary Club of South Hilo’s Hilo Huli and Rotary Club of Hilo’s Brewfest. In August, UnitedHealthcare presented a $250,000 check in support of the program. The HHSC PCTP has seen a ground swell of financial support in recent years that originated with a grassroots fundraising campaign spearheaded by the Hilo Medical Center Foundation and key funding from the HMSA Foundation and TriWest Healthcare. Funds raised are managed by the HMC Foundation. For more information on contributing, contact Lori Rogers, HMC Foundation Executive Director, at 935-2957, lrogers@hhsc.org or go to: www.hilomedicalcenterfoundation.org.

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About Hilo Medical Center
As the Big Island’s leading provider of inpatient and outpatient care, Hilo Medical Center (HMC) delivers a full range of services and programs.  Our 20-acre campus consists of 276 beds located throughout the 142-bed acute hospital, 20-bed behavioral health facility and 112-bed long-term care facility. We have over 975 employees and more than 250 physicians, representing 33 specialties. As a medical center, we have a network of ten outpatient clinics offering primary and specialty care. The hospital’s Level III Trauma Center includes the second busiest emergency room in the state, providing 24-hour care and serving more than 41,000 patients annually. In May 2013, HMC became a tobacco-free campus.   

HMC has been the recipient of Mountain Pacific Quality Health’s Quality Achievement Award for the last two years, recognized for continually exceeding national benchmarks for quality care and customer service. In 2012, HMC was recognized by the insurer HMSA as Hawaii’s leading hospital in improving quality and reducing the cost of providing care. HMC was also named 2012 Press Ganey Top Improver Award winner for patient satisfaction for improvements made between 2010 and 2011. We were one of 18 hospitals awarded for this achievement out of 1,418 hospitals nationwide. Most recently in early 2013, the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) recognized HMC for achieving Stage 6 on the EMR Adoption ModelSM. HMC was honored as one of two hospitals in the State of Hawaii and one of 478 hospitals in the United States to reach Stage 6. HMC’s EMR team, HealthConnect, is now moving ahead to achieve Stage 7, the final stage on the EMR Adoption ModelSM.  

HMC is a member of the East Hawaii Region of the Hawaii Health Systems Corporation, a public entity established in 1996 by the State of Hawaii to fulfill the promise to provide quality, hometown healthcare. For more information, go to: www.hilomedicalcenter.org.    

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