Family Medicine Residency of Idaho is one of the original 11 THC’s in the United States and has done a lot to help train family medicine physicians for rural and underserved parts of Idaho.
Equally important, they and their graduates have provided much-needed health services to 66.4% of people in Idaho and nearly 80 million Americans living in health professional shortage areas. Research shows that more than nine out of 10 teaching health center graduates remain in primary care practice and more than three out of four plan to work in underserved communities. Studies also have documented that teaching health center residents are three times more likely than traditionally trained residents to practice primary care in a community-based clinic. Other data show that nearly twice as many residents who trained in teaching health centers went on to practice in underserved settings compared to their counterparts who trained in hospital-based programs.
Teaching health centers’ continued success now depends on Congressional action. Unless Congress reauthorizes the Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education Program, federal support ends on Oct. 1. Ensuring a robust program requires a five-year extension and increased funding that can support new teaching health center programs, particularly in rural and underserved areas. Currently, the Training the Next Generation of Primary Care Doctors Act reflects family medicine’s goals of reauthorizing the THCGME program for five years, authorizing adequate and sustainable funding for existing residency programs, and supporting expansion into more rural and underserved communities.