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Medical residency partnership at Comanche County Memorial Hospital successful in creating self-sustaining rural physician training program

LAWTON (Friday, February 2, 2018) – Representatives from OSU Center for Health Sciences, the Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust, and Comanche County Memorial Hospital gathered at CCMH to announce a significant milestone reached by the family medicine and emergency medicine residency training programs at CCMH.

Both the family medicine residency training program and the emergency medicine residency training program at CCMH are now self-sustaining programs. State legislators were on hand to celebrate this remarkable achievement for Comanche County Memorial Hospital and for the City of Lawton.

In 2015, the TSET Board of Directors approved a $3.8 million grant to the OSU Center for Health Sciences to fund start-up costs to support up to 118 accredited residency slots located across the state. A portion of the funds provided by TSET were used by OSU-CHS to support the residency programs in family medicine and emergency medicine at CCMH until these programs were self-sustaining through Medicare.

“Physicians play a vital role in educating Oklahomans on healthy choices, and increasing access to preventative screenings and care will help offset future health care costs,” said TSET Executive Director John Woods. “The partnership at Comanche County Memorial has been successful in providing increased education for physicians and helping establish more physicians in rural areas. That’s a win-win. TSET is proud to partner on this effort.”

The family medicine and emergency medicine residency training programs at CCMH are now self-funded through Medicare’s Direct and Indirect Graduate Medical Education (IME and DME) payment system—which compensates teaching hospitals for Medicare’s share of the costs directly related to training residents.   

“CCMH is committed to providing safe, compassionate and innovative health care that exceeds expectations,” said Brent Smith, CEO, CCMH. “We are excited to be able to continue to grow our family medicine residency training program and the emergency medicine residency training programs here at CCMH and partner with TSET and OSU to improve the health of residents in Lawton and surrounding areas.” 

These family medicine and emergency medicine residency training programs at CCMH have a combined 28 residency training slots with 12 slots in family medicine and 16 slots in emergency medicine. Residency programs like these have proven to be effective methods for recruiting and retaining physicians.  Already, two physicians who graduated from the residency programs at CCMH, one in family medicine and one in emergency medicine, are practicing in Lawton.

“We are immensely grateful to Comanche County Memorial Hospital and to TSET for recognizing the value of residency education. Their investment in our residency programs will make a huge difference in the health outcomes of the people of Lawton,” says Dr. William Pettit, Provost and Associate Dean of Rural Health at OSU Center for Health Sciences.

The mission of OSU Center for Health Sciences is to train osteopathic primary care physicians with an emphasis on serving rural and underserved Oklahoma. Partnerships with TSET and Comanche County Memorial Hospital through residency training help advance OSU Center for Health Sciences’ goal of placing more primary care physicians in rural areas of Oklahoma. Research has shown that most doctors will practice within 100 miles of where they completed their residency training program.

For immediate release
Julie Bisbee,
TSET Director of Public Information and Outreach
julieb@tset.ok.gov
405-301-3693

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About the Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences
Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences educates osteopathic physicians, scientists, allied health professionals and health care administrators for Oklahoma with an emphasis on serving rural and underserved Oklahoma. OSU-CHS offers graduate and professional degrees with over 1,000 students enrolled in academic programs in the College of Osteopathic Medicine, the School of Allied Health, the School of Health Care Administration, the School of Biomedical Sciences, and the School of Forensic Sciences. OSU-CHS operates a network of clinics in the Tulsa area offering a multitude of specialty services including cardiology, family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, psychiatry and women’s health.

About TSET
The Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET) serves as a partner and bridge builder for organizations working towards shaping a healthier future for all Oklahomans. TSET provides leadership at the intersections of health by working across the state, by cultivating innovative and life-changing research, and by working across public and private sectors to develop, support, implement and evaluate creative strategies to take advantage of emerging opportunities to improve the public's health. TSET. Better Lives Through Better Health.