Sky Lakes partnership is getting Medicare funding for more physician residents

program involving Sky Lakes Medical Center will get physician resident training
positions from Medicare funding.

Oregon’s U.S. Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley this
week announced that Cascades East Family Medicine Residency Program will
receive an equivalent to about three additional physician resident training
slots in July.

The Cascades East Family Medicine Residency Program is a
partnership between Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) and Sky Lakes
Medical Center in Klamath Falls.  The Program says it has nine residents
per year, with a total of 25 medical residents.  It says while all three
years of medical residency training occur in Klamath Falls, three to four
months of the three year residency are spent in other Oregon communities,
including three weeks in Medford for NICU, four weeks in Portland for inpatient
pediatrics, four weeks of ICU in either Bend or Klamath Falls, and five weeks
in one of the Program’s “frontier communities” of John Day,
Enterprise and Lakeview.

The medical residency program says it trains residents to
become family medicine physicians who provide comprehensive care to their

“Training more medical residents right here in Klamath
Falls is a promising sign of progress toward improving access to primary care
and mental health services in the region, where providers have been stretched
to a breaking point,” said Wyden, who as chair of the Senate Finance
Committee is leading bipartisan
 to address the nationwide mental health crisis. 
“I have heard loud and clear from health care providers at meetings in
Klamath Falls about how the serious lack of stable health care workforce-especially
mental health providers-is hurting quality of life in this part of rural
Oregon. I am all in to fight for expanded health care in rural communities all
over the state, so that zip code no longer undermines any Oregonian’s access to
quality care.”

“It is essential for Oregonians in all corners of the
state to have access to the resources they need to be safe and healthy, which
is why it is critical that we increase the number of primary care and mental
health care providers in rural areas,” Merkley said. “This
funding to expand the number of physician residents in Klamath Falls will help
to improve the quality of life for many Southern Oregonians, while also
training the next generation of rural health care providers. I will keep
fighting to make sure that every Oregonian has access to the health care they
need to thrive.”

This week, the Centers
for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)
 advanced health equity and
access to care by awarding the first 200 of 1,000 Medicare funded physician
residency slots to enhance the healthcare workforce and fund additional
positions in hospitals serving underserved communities.  The funding is
effective July, 2023, and the Senators say about three-fourths of the new
positions will involved primary care and mental health specialties.

“Cascades East Family Medicine Residency Program, a
partnership between Sky Lakes Medical Center and Oregon Health & Science
University, is excited to have been awarded new physician residency
slots,” said Sky Lakes Medical Center Chief Executive Officer David
Cauble, adding, “These new residency slots will allow Cascades East to add
three residents to its robust rural training program at Sky Lakes Medical
Center. The training at Cascades East is an essential part of creating a
workforce of family physicians skilled at meeting their patients where they are
at, adapting to the needs of rural communities to provide excellent care in
areas with scarce resources. Cascades East is proud to have almost 80% of their
graduates practicing in rural communities. Adding residency slots to this
program is an important step toward ensuring the next generation of primary
care physicians who will improve the health of Oregon’s rural communities and