Categorized | Health

HHSC primary care training program accreditation milestone


The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) recently informed Hilo Medical Center officials that its Hawaii Island Family Medicine Residency program has met the requirements for a 2-year accreditation, effective July 1, 2014.

The program, legislatively known as the Hawaii Health Systems Corporation Primary Care Training Program (HHSC PCTP), is now gearing up to attract candidates who are interested in learning the art of Family Medicine along with a team of pharmacists, nurses, nurse practitioners and psychologists.

It will welcome the first class of four residents in the summer.

“The accreditation of the HHSC Primary Care Training Program is one of the most important milestones in the history of our program,” said Howard Ainsley, East Hawaii Regional CEO of HHSC. “Thanks to the collective effort to achieve accreditation, we will be able to move forward in solving the primary care physician shortage in our state and bring better health outcomes to our community.”

“I am so excited that this final piece of the training program has fallen into place,” said Dr. Kristine McCoy, Hawaii Island Family Medicine Residency Director. “Beginning in 2017, we will graduate at least four new family physicians into the community along with their teams of colleagues from the other disciplines. In the meantime, these resident physicians and our faculty will play a significant role in caring for the people of East Hawaii in many settings, including the clinic, the hospital, our community’s long term care facilities, and in hospice care.”

According to a report by the “Hawaii Physician Workforce Assessment Project” presented at the 2013 Legislative Session, Hawaii Island saw a 34 percent physician shortage in 2012 with 341 physicians in supply compared to 514 physicians in demand or needed to adequately care for the island’s population.

Statewide, the shortage was 18 percent or 2,955 physicians in supply compared to 3,590 physicians in demand.

Among other findings, the report concluded the physician shortages were especially acute in the area of primary care.

Supporters of the HHSC PCTP created a wave of momentum during the 2013 state legislative session that saw House Bill 417 appropriating $1.8 million to the program signed and released by then acting governor Shan Tsutsui in August and October, respectively.

HMC officials, with the Hilo Medical Center Foundation, garnered legislative support through outreach to the community, local businesses and county and state legislators.

Preparations for the 2014 legislative session are underway to seek sustained funding for the program.

The HHSC PCTP has also seen a ground swell of other financial support.

In August, UnitedHealthcare, presented a $250,000 check in support of the program. Prior to that, the Rotary Club of South Hilo’s Hilo Huli and Rotary Club of Hilo’s Brewfest were held to raise funds for the program.

All funds raised are managed by the Hilo Medical Center Foundation.

For further information on contributing, contact Lori Rogers, Hilo Medical Center Foundation Executive Director, at 935-2957 or

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