Kaweah Delta - UC-Irvine's Residency Program

February 26, 2008 9:00:34 PM PST
A South Valley hospital may join forces with a medical school in Southern California to improve health care.The hospital is in talks with the University of California at Irvine about bringing a brand new residency program here.

It's Kaweah Delta's latest attempt to bring more doctors to the South Valley.

Hospital officials at Kaweah Delta say physicians like Philip Reidel are the key to great medical care in Visalia.

Doctors say the area is underserved in primary and specialty care.

Dr. John Hipskind, Emergency Department: "You can basically put a dartboard up with a name of every specialiaty and you throw a dart at it and chances are we'll need one."

Hipskind says attracting specialists is a problem throughout California, but especially in small communities like Tulare County.

Ceo Lindsay Mann says the hospital has been recruiting physicians heavily to Visalia and working hard at keeping them here.

Lindsay Mann, Kaweah Delta Dis. Hosp. C.E.O.: "We have the issue of people not knowing of the Central Valley um having many practice options most physicians now coming out of training will have multiple offers"

The UC-Irvine Residency Program would mean medical school graduates would work in Visalia for several years while they complete their specialty training and become Board Certified Doctors.

Mann: "If the Central Valley wants to be more effective in recruiting and retaining physicians to this area we will choose to train them in this area as well."

Mann says Kaweah Delta wants to offer residency training for doctors in four different areas:

Emergency Medicine, Surgical practice, Obstetrics and Gynecology, and family practice.

In April, a team of three doctors from UC-Irvine will visit Kaweah Delta's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and Emergency Department.

Dr. Hipskind says bringing a residency program to the hospital will also help educate current doctors.

Hipskind: "When you get somebody that's just been through training you benefit from their knowledge so they get a practical experience of how to function in a busy emergency department and we get to benefit from the latest techniques and medications."

UC San Francisco currently has a residency program in Fresno.

Kaweah Delta officials hope UC-Irvine's Residency comes to Visalia in 2-3 years.


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