Texas health center's residency program ends after 40 years

The Wichita Falls (Texas) Family Medicine Residency Program officially closed July 1 after 40 years, according to the Times Record News.

The residency program was affiliated with the Fort Worth-based University of North Texas Health Science Center and had been managed by Community Healthcare Center in Wichita Falls since January 2017.

Wichita Falls-based United Regional Health Care System, which owns the facility the program operated out of, withdrew its support of the residency program in April. The program's graduate medical education committee voted to end the program in May, citing the lack of an affiliated teaching hospital, the report states.

The program's termination brought a shift for up to 8,000 patients, many of whom belong to the city's most vulnerable populations, according to the report. However, officials said the program's former home, the Wichita Falls Family Health Center, will begin offering family medicine, women's health and counseling services.

Concerns were also raised for the medical residents in the program, who were forced to find family medicine residency programs elsewhere.

Phyllis Cowling, president and CEO of URHCS, told the Times Record News July 2 all of the residents previously enrolled in the program have found other programs to continue their medical education.

"It appears that all of the residents are landing in good programs. We literally have them in positions coast to coast from California to New York," she said. "It was obviously stressful for the residents, and we were trying to ease that stress if we could. Quite a number of the residents were here yesterday to kind of wrap up and finish up, and I think it went well."

To help ease the transition for residents, URHCS reportedly pledged to partially fund residents' moving expenses and help them gain acceptance into other programs.

While the health system has no plans to restart the family medicine residency program, a new residency program may be possible in the future, officials told the publication.

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