UM program fills slots for beginning practitioners to train at Family Medical Residency

2013-03-30T21:50:00Z 2013-03-30T22:41:00Z UM program fills slots for beginning practitioners to train at Family Medical Residency

A new medical program sponsored by the University of Montana has filled its 10 openings with young practitioners who will begin their residency training this summer at a clinic in Missoula.

Filling the slots marks a big step forward for a university-sponsored program new to medical residency training, and for a state that claims just one other residency program, placing it 50th nationally in graduate medical education.

“There are 29,000 patient visits between Missoula and Ravalli counties not happening currently because the resources aren’t available to see those patients,” said Ned Vasquez, director of Family Medical Residency of Montana. “We’re increasing the number of physicians for patients by moving this residency program forward.”

The demand for more physicians in Montana isn’t new. Rural communities have a difficult time recruiting and retaining doctors, often losing them to larger hospitals.

The population in Montana also is aging, and with more people looking to Medicaid for coverage, experts see a growing need for physician care with fewer doctors to provide it.

“About one-quarter of the physicians in Montana are 60 years or older, and they’re likely to retire in the next five years,” Vasquez said. “We have this convergence of needing more care with fewer doctors to provide it.”

The new program began seeking accreditation in the fall of 2011 and was granted it in October 2012. Last November, Family Medical Residency of Montana began interviewing prospective students who had graduated from medical school and needed to begin their residency.

Vasquez said the physicians will be assigned a panel of patients and will practice at Partnership Health Center in Missoula, working under the supervision of the College of Health Professionals and Biomedical Sciences at UM.

After one year, three of the residents will move to Kalispell to complete the last two years of their residency at Flathead Community Health Center.

“We ended up with 100 applicants and interviewed 50 of them,” Vasquez said. “We looked at those 50 applicants and decided 43 were acceptable, and we placed them in order of preference.”


After graduating from medical school, students also completed a “match” process. They interviewed a variety of programs, including that at UM, and ranked the top five programs they were most interested in attending.

Vasquez said the match process pairs both physicians and residency programs with the best fit. Of the 10 physicians entering UM’s residency program, four are from Montana, and three of those are from smaller Montana communities.

“We’re bringing people back to the state who want to live in Montana, making it likely they’ll stay and practice in a smaller community,” Vasquez said. “That’s really the mission of the residency program – to train people who will stay here and work in a smaller place.”

UM will serve as the sponsoring institution, and is responsible for the education delivered to the medical residents. Funding for the program comes from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

The program will work in partnership with St. Patrick Hospital, Community Medical Center and Kalispell Regional Medical Center.

“From a UM standpoint, it doesn’t have a financial obligation to fund the residency program,” Vasquez said. “The university provides the academic oversight, but is not on the hook for funding."

Reporter Martin Kidston can be reached at 523-5260, or at

Copyright 2015 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

No Comments Posted.

Missoulian Civil Dialogue Policy

Civil Dialogue Policy for Commenting on

We provide this community forum for readers to exchange ideas and opinions on the news of the day. Passionate views, pointed criticism and critical thinking are welcome. Comments can only be submitted by registered users. By posting comments on our site, you are agreeing to the following terms:

Commentary and photos submitted to the Missoulian ( may be published or distributed in print, electronically or other forms. Opinions expressed in's comments reflect the opinions of the author, and are not necessarily the opinions of the Missoulian or its parent company. See the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy for more information.

Our guidelines prohibit the solicitation of products or services, the impersonation of another site user, threatening or harassing postings and the use of vulgar, abusive, obscene or sexually oriented language, defamatory or illegal material. You may not post content that degrades others on the basis of gender, race, class, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability or other classification. It's fine to criticize ideas, but ad hominem attacks on other site users are prohibited. Users who violate those standards may lose their privileges on

You may not post copyrighted material from another publication. (Link to it instead, using a headline or very brief excerpt.)

No short policy such as this can spell out all possible instances of material or behavior that we might deem to be a violation of our publishing standards, and we reserve the right to remove any material posted to the site.

Add Comment
You must Login to comment.

Click here to get an account it's free and quick

Search our events calendar