Stillwater News Press

January 24, 2013

Stillwater Medical Center trustees discuss rural residency program

By John Filonow
Stillwater NewsPress

STILLWATER, Okla. — Stillwater Medical Center Board of Trustees discussed participating in a rural residency program Tuesday.

The Family Practice Resident Rural Scholarship program is sponsored by the State of Oklahoma and administered by the Physician Manpower Training Commission. It is designed to help Oklahoma’s rural communities attract physicians.

Hospital CEO Jerry Moeller gave a report to the trustees which included a presentation on a letter he received from State Rep. Cory Willliams, D-Stillwater, encouraging Moeller to address the matter at the meeting.

In the letter, Williams said it is important to him that “our hometown medical center be an active participant.”

Charlotte Jiles, program coordinator for the Physician Manpower Training Commission, said the program provides a $1,000 per month loan to physician residents who are enrolled in an accredited Oklahoma family practice or family medicine program.

Jiles said physicians agree to spend one month during their third year of residency on elective rotation in a rural community.

After completion of residency training, physicians agree to return to the community one month for each month the loan was received.

If a physician decides to not practice medicine in the rural community, the doctor will have to repay the loan plus interest and a penalty of up to 100 percent of the principal, according to the program’s website.

Jiles said the hospital has participated in the rural residency program before, and she would like to see the hospital participate again.

“Stillwater Medical Center really needs to be working with us,” Jiles said.

Moeller said he would discuss the matter with two other Oklahoma hospitals which are similar in size to Stillwater Medical Center.

Williams said many rural areas have a lack of physicians. Doctors usually tend to practice close to where they complete their residency, he said.

“It’s important that we do this on behalf of Oklahoma, sometimes goodwill counts for a lot,” Williams said.