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Hospitals address physician shortage in southwest GA

Published: Jul. 27, 2012 at 9:43 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 30, 2012 at 9:43 PM EDT
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MOULTRIE, GA (WALB) - The critical need for primary care physicians in South Georgia prompted five hospitals to unite to find a solution.

Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital established the South Georgia Medical Education and Research Consortium, along with hospitals in Moultrie, Thomasville, Valdosta and Tifton.

The consortium expands medical education and residency programs in the region.

This will not only improve access to healthcare, but will also benefit the local economies, because 60% of residents stay and practice in the area where they complete their residency program.

"When a physician establishes a practice, it can be up to $1.4 million in economic benefit and generally they hire 5 or 6 people so certainly untold growth for the communities in southwest Georgia," says Jessica Rivenbark, Consortium Exec. Director.

Currently, Southwest Georgia has 15 residents, all in the field of family medicine. The Consortium begins the accreditation process this Fall and hopes to add up to 150 new residents in the area.

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