Health

Funding for Residency Program in Laredo

Proposal

Laredo, the number one inland port of entry and the third largest customs district in the nation, remains a Health Resources Services Administration (HRSA) designated Health Professions Shortage Area (HPSA) and a Medically Underserved Area (MUA). To improve the quality of life and provide early access to preventive and primary care, we need a physician residency program in Laredo to fill the gaps in many specialties, but especially in Family Practice. Laredo, local hospitals and the medical community are committed to this effort, but need additional financial support to develop this program, not just for the benefit of Laredo, but for the entire Texas/Mexico Border and South Texas.

Background

Laredo is a HPSA and MUA, but serves as a medical hub for an eleven (11) county area mostly sub-rural and urban in an area that continues to be one of the fastest growing in Texas. Recruitment, retention and retirement of physicians in the area is a challenge, but to meet this gap and to plan for the future of South Texas health care needs, a medical (physician) residency program is needed in Laredo; especially, in Family Practice and Public Health. History shows that residents tend to stay in the area they trained. This will help with recruitment and retention of physicians. Laredo is a fertile training ground for these new physicians as they will address current, emerging and new infectious and chronic diseases. Moreover, our over 35% underinsured population needs basic medical and preventive care. Prevention and a medical home with early access is also an economic safeguard instead of the higher costs of urgent care and hospitalization due to inadequate or no preventive and family medical care-Family Practitioners play a large and important role here.

Laredo already has unique evidence based best practices in disease self-management, school based health programs, infectious disease management and treatment and state of the art hospital training capacity. This is part of the excellence that can serve to provide a quality training field for residents in Family Practice. The City of Laredo and its Health Department (CLHD) is ready to partner with local efforts; such as, with Dr. David Garza and the School of Osteopathic Medicine at Incarnate Word University in San Antonio. Laredo, local hospitals and the medical community are ready to do their part to implement a residency program but require state legislative support for additional financial resources. This will help insure a healthier community not just for Laredo and the region but for all Texans.

Contact

Dr. Hector F. Gonzalez
Health Department Director
2600 Cedar Avenue
Laredo, TX 78040
Phone: (956) 795-4901
Fax: (956) 726-2632
Email: hgonzalez@ci.laredo.tx.us