MU Health Care's planned expansion may help rural hospitals

4 weeks 1 day 18 hours ago Thursday, March 22 2018 Mar 22, 2018 Thursday, March 22, 2018 12:28:00 PM CDT March 22, 2018 in News
By: Jasmine Ramirez, KOMU 8 News
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COLUMBIA - The University of Missouri plans to expand its partnerships with several hospitals and improving medical care access to its patients.

MU Health Care announced their plans to the Board of Curators' committee on Wednesday night. CEO Jonathan Curtright and UM System President Mun Choi said they want to partner with Bothwell Regional Health Center, Hannibal Regional Healthcare System and Lake Regional Health System and continue working with Capital Region Medical Center in Jefferson City.

One initiative in the hospital partnership is the rural track program. It encourages medical students to work in rural communities once they become doctors.

Dr. Philip Fracica at Bothwell Regional Health Center said medical students are placed at hospitals in rural communities during their third year of school.

"Students will come here to do their core experiences in things like internal medicine, gynecology, surgery, family medicine," Fracica said.

He said he's excited for the program and believes it will help rural hospitals.

"We believe that it provides a significant leg up for being able to retain those people in six, seven, eight years down the road," Francica said. "To have new practitioners join our community and provide care to our citizens." 

MU Healthcare's hospital partnership also helps patient information to become more easily accessed through an electronic record system shared between hospitals.

Patients can look forward to easier access to care. MU Healthcare looks to advance its telehealth technology which allow people to video chat with doctors from the comfort of their home. 

The healthcare system announced their successful revenue numbers for 2017. MU Health doubled its estimated operating income in its first seven months of the fiscal year. It made a total net income of $98.5 million for the year. 

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