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Facing doctor shortage, BayCare to train hundreds more in Tampa Bay

The hospital system plans to launch several residency programs, including in family and internal medicine.
 
St. Joseph's Hospital in Tampa. The medical center and St. Joseph’s Hospital-North in Lutz will become home to a new 117-resident internal medicine program.
St. Joseph's Hospital in Tampa. The medical center and St. Joseph’s Hospital-North in Lutz will become home to a new 117-resident internal medicine program. [ BayCare Health System ]
Published Feb. 1|Updated Feb. 2

With Florida facing a shortage of doctors, Tampa Bay’s largest health care system plans to bring hundreds more to the region for training, hospital officials announced Thursday.

BayCare Health System, which runs 16 hospitals, will launch at least seven multiyear-residency programs to train young physicians at seven medical centers in Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco and Polk counties, said Sowmya Viswanathan, BayCare’s chief physician executive.

The health system currently has four residency programs with 77 positions, Viswanathan said. By 2029, BayCare plans to have more than 650 positions, according to a news release, with the planned and existing programs bringing close to 200 new resident physicians and fellows to the region each year.

The new programs will focus on internal medicine, family medicine, surgery, child and adolescent psychiatry, addiction medicine and emergency medicine.

Two of them were approved last week by the Accreditation Council of Graduate Medical Education, a nonprofit that evaluates residency programs. They will launch this summer, Viswanathan said.

St. Joseph’s Hospital in Tampa and St. Joseph’s Hospital-North in Lutz will be home to a new 117-resident internal medicine program. St. Joseph’s Hospital-South in Riverview will host a 48-resident family medicine program in partnership with Tampa Family Health Centers.

The other BayCare programs are pending approval from the accreditation council, Viswanathan said.

Completing a residency is required for young physicians to practice independently in Florida, she said. BayCare expects many doctors entering its new programs to stay in Tampa Bay.

Tampa is facing a physician shortage after its pandemic-era population boom, Viswanathan said. Demand for doctors outweighs the supply.

A January report from Florida TaxWatch found that the state’s number of general internal medicine doctors is expected to meet only 65% of demand in 2030.