Wyden, Merkley: Cascades East to Receive Additional Physician Residency Slots to Expand Health Care Workforce in Southern Oregon

Washington, D.C. –
U.S. Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley this week announced that Cascades
East Family Medicine Residency Program, a partnership between Oregon Health
& Science University and Sky Lakes Medical Center in Klamath Falls, will
receive additional physician resident training slots in July, a crucial step in
expanding the Southern Oregon health care work force.

“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 health care workforce and fund additional
positions in hospitals serving underserved communities, effective July, 2023.
About three-quarters of the new positions will be for primary care and mental
health specialties.

Cascades East is slotted to get the equivalent of nearly
three positions.

“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 David Cauble, CEO of Sky Lakes Medical
Center. “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 beyond.”