Speaker: Dr. McCoy, Residency Chief

 
For a pretty long time, akamai folks on Hawaii Island were warning about a looming doctor shortage and how a residency program might entice primary care physicians here.  This year, the first docs have begun the Hawaii Island Family Medicine Residency (HIFMR).  Dr. Kristine McCoy, a Stanford trained physician, has gotten it off the ground and moving forward.
 
Most our island's primary care providers will be retiring at the end of this decade, she said, "some want to retire now, but can't."
 
"It's great to come to come and be a doctor in Hawaii," she said, but the reality is that it's not as easy to be a business person here.  With a single insurance provider holding a huge percentage of the market, physicians aren't paid very well.  Medicare is cutting payments by one-fifth. 
 
Families are challenged—often the physicians have highly educated spouses who need work, but if they are not astronomers, finding work can be hard.
 
"We try to recruit people who know already," about Hawaii, its challenges and benefits, she said.
 
McCoy talked about HIFMR—"our clinic is a school that treats patients.  It's the first place outside Honolulu where you can train doctors."
 
She said with two silver tsunamis—older patients and retiring doctors—nurse practitioners are critical to solving the problem.  She said HIBMR is working with UHH Nursing program and the College of Pharmacy for interdisciplinary training.
 
And, on Sunday mornings, you are welcome to join the "Walk with a Doc" group at the park.
 
For more info on the residency program:   http://www.hifmr.org/