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Bayhealth residency program seeks to address doctor shortage

Milton Pratt
Delaware Public Media

Bayhealth recently announced new medical residency program’s inaugural class.

The program’s goal is to add more physicians in Southern and Central Delaware, where there’s a lack of primary care physicians for growing and aging population.

Delaware Public Media’s Nick Ciolino recently spoke with Bayhealth’s Internal Medicine Residency Program Director Dr. Joseph Deutsch about the program and its mission.  

Bayhealth recently held the first ever “Match Day” for its new residency program. 

Match Day is when a computer program matches prospective physician residents with the institution where they will complete their residency.

Internal Medicine Residency Program Director Dr. Joseph Deutsch says Bayhealth bid for residents it thought would stay in Delaware.

“We really wanted residents who would decide after three years of training, ‘hey, I want to join a practice or start a practice of my own, and spend my career here taking care of patients in this community,’” said Deutsch.  

The total number of primary care practices statewide is on the decline. The number dropped 6 percent from 2013 to 2018, according to a University of Delaware and DHSS study. 

Both Sussex and Kent Counties have more than 2,000 patients per primary care physician.

Bayhealth’s inaugural class of residents include eight in its Family Medicine Program and 13 in its Internal Medicine Program. 

Deutsch says this will immediately add about 10,000 outpatient doctor visits this year in southern and central Delaware. 

“If you’re a person that lives in our community, have been trying to find a new doctor and can’t—either you call and the doctor’s office is not accepting new patients, or when they call you are, but maybe they can’t see you for several months. We think access to our offices will be much better than that,” he said.   

Bayhealth’s residency program plans to expand - adding General Surgery and Emergency Medicine residency programs in the coming years. 

And the Family Medicine and Internal Medicine program are each adding outpatient practices in the state. Deutsch says once they’re fully staffed in a couple years they will add a combined 50,000 outpatient visits per year in the First State. 

The inaugural class of residents starts in July.

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