Doctor Shortage Solution?
A bill co-sponsored by U.S. Senator Bill Nelson and House members Kendrick Meek and Kathy Castor would add 347 residency positions statewide.
Residents are graduates of medical school, but still have three to five years of training before they can become a full-fledged doctors.
University of Florida Senior Associate Dean Dr. Robert Watson says while nationwide 20 - 25% of residency positions are not filled. But in Florida, not a single one remains vacant. Which means that usually their services are lost for good.
"When they go out of state to do a residency, the odds are very high that they are going to stay out of state to practice," says Watson. "Which means taxpayers in the state of Florida are paying for the education of physicians in other states."
UF Fourth Year Med Student Amanda Pusey says she wants to stay here. But she's not sure she will get her wish.
"It's definitely nerve-wracking to not know if you're going to be able to stay," says Pusey. "There are only so many positions."
The federal proposal would be almost 50% more than the 786 residency slots that are currently offered. Watson says even that won't be enough to keep up with Florida's aging population.
By Dan Breitwieser, WCJB TV 20 News
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