SAN ANTONIO-- San Antonio may soon see some relief from long waits in emergency rooms.
A shortage of emergency room doctors is being addressed with a new residency program at the University of Texas Health Science Center School of Medicine. San Antonio is the only one of the country's 25 largest cities without an emergency medicine residency program.
University Hospital will serve as the main training site for the new program. Doctors will train in the new 10-story tower, scheduled to open in early 2014.
The Society of Academic Emergency Medicine estimates South Texas has less than half of the emergency room doctors needed to best serve the population.
"Our emergency medicine residents will train and take care of patients under the direct supervision of board-certified emergency medicine physicians," said George B. Hernandez Jr., president and CEO of the University Health System. "This isn't just important for University Hospital, but for the families and individuals across our community and throughout South Texas who will come to our emergency center and receive the very highest level of care."
Administrators expect most of the physicians who train in San Antonio will live and practice in the area upon graduation.
"The new Emergency Medicine Residency program is crucial to our community. In San Antonio, ER doctors provide a vital public service, providing life-saving care to those in need 24 hours a day, seven days a week," said Bruce Adams, M.D., director of the Center for Emergency Medicine at the UT Health Science Center School of Medicine. "Having a residency program in San Antonio will dramatically improve the quality and accessibility of emergency and acute health care for the region."
The first group of resident physicians arrive on July 1, 2013.
University Hospital is the largest ER in San Antonio and the lead Level I Trauma Center for a 22-county South/Central Texas region.