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Frequently Asked Questions

What are your strengths?

Our program is based in a system valuing excellence and for which the quality impact is #1 in the support justification for the residency. Other strengths include rapidly growing maternal, child and geriatric patient populations, and the economic and cultural diversity of the region. It's significant to point out that Mercy's mission statement supports the priority for providing care to the underserved.

In this rapidly evolving healthcare environment, it is virtually impossible to predict what the economics of healthcare payment will look like in the foreseeable future. A significant advantage to residents trained in this program will be an exposure to essentially every form of healthcare payor currently operating in California. Our patient population includes individuals whose costs are borne by "fee for service," narrow scope managed care, multiple public assistance programs, CHAMPUS and every possible permutation of capitation and discounted fee for service programs.

See Why Choose Our Program? for more detailed information.

What are your weaknesses?

Being in a rapidly changing and evolving healthcare environment like the Sacramento area, we face the challenge of almost continuous curriculum development and evolution. Resident input to enhance and develop curriculum is extremely important. We seek residents who are self-motivated learners, anxious to take advantage of a broad base of educational resources provided in an environment of flexibility and support, designed to maximize the educational benefit to each participant. Family practice is a dynamic specialty demanding an adaptive curriculum to meet the diverse needs of residents and the changing landscape of community health priorities.

One "weakness" of our program is the fact that there are three family practice residencies in the Sacramento area which has been shown to lend a potential for confusion among the three programs even though each is clearly designed to attract very different applicant populations. The UCD Med Center program is a university-based family practice residency. Sutter’s family practice residency is a good example of a program designed to train physicians for practice in an environment heavily leveraged by managed care. Dignity Health supports a community program for residents whose career goals include community practice and the care of culturally and economically diverse populations.

Why establish a residency at Methodist Hospital?

Our Family Medicine Residency Program is part of the overall strategy of Dignity Health to improve the quality of care provided in its member institutions. As an organization, Dignity Health recognizes the positive impact on quality that results from Graduate Medical Education activities in the institution. Methodist Hospital was selected as the first institution within Dignity Health to sponsor a family practice residency for a number of compelling reasons.

  • We have a history of community service and a primary care orientation
  • We feature a multi-million dollar Family Birth Center, including state-of-the-art labor and delivery, isolation units for obstetrical patients with communicable diseases and intensive care nursery
  • The hospital converted approximately 50% of inpatient beds to critical care capacity, upgraded imaging and diagnostic facilities and completed a major expansion of our Emergency Department

Methodist Hospital was also selected because it’s in the center of a rapidly growing area badly in need of primary care physicians, especially for young families and elderly adults. The large population of underserved individuals benefits from the establishment of the residency's Family Health Center, one of the few local access points to the healthcare system.

What is your educational philosophy?

Our educational philosophy is excellence in post-graduate medical education. Rather than being designed to meet minimum accreditation criteria, our curriculum was constructed using the RAP criteria for excellence prepared by the American Academy of Family Physicians as a foundation for training in each cognitive domain. In addition, it is the personal philosophy of the program director that resident physicians "learn best when conscious." Consequently, our program includes mechanisms to carefully guard the physical and emotional energy of each resident to maximize their capacity to take advantage of the broad resources for learning.

Hospitals across the country are suffering extreme economic pressures, what is the assurance that Methodist Hospital remains economically healthy in the future?

Methodist Hospital is one of six hospitals in Dignity Health’s Sacramento Service Area, including: Mercy General Hospital, Mercy Hospital of Folsom, Mercy San Juan Medical Center, Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital and Woodland Healthcare.

Methodist Hospital is located amid two unique economic communities:

  • Elk Grove: a rapidly growing, relatively affluent community which provides a strong economic base to the hospital
  • Meadowview: an economically disadvantaged community, one of the poorest regions in the state with healthcare indicators reminiscent of third world countries

Dignity Health is the largest single hospital system in the Western U.S. and is an economically strong organization with a capacity to support regional construction projects at a time when others are struggling for economic survival.

What is the cultural profile of your service population?

We serve an ethnically, culturally and economically diverse population. Our patients represent 50 major cultural groups and more than 12 major languages. The hospital provides broad based interpreter support and is the pivotal hospital within the Greater Meadowview Area Council, a collaboration of local ethnic and cultural special interest groups. Using the Healthy Community Strategy (similar to Community Oriented Primary Care, expanded to include safety, transportation, education and community development) Methodist Hospital is broadly represented in this coalition giving residents multiple opportunities to interact intimately with the community.

What are the key educational resources supporting your program?

As a community residency program, the most significant educational resource is our medical staff, characterized by young residency-trained physicians dedicated to supporting medical education to enhance the quality of patient care. Our staff includes representatives from every major medical and surgical specialty, but remains dominated by primary care specialists. In addition to teaching residents, the bulk of the medical staff also participates in student clerkships and other trainees rotating through their offices and the hospital.

Another resource is our medical campus. In addition to our inpatient facility, we are surrounded by professional office buildings where many of our medical staff have offices. This proximity enhances their responsiveness to resident needs and makes the facilities of their individual offices available for training. The Mercy Family Health Center is immediately adjacent to the hospital, which is a significant convenience for residents. Bruceville Terrace, one of the area's premier extended care facilities, is across the back parking lot and includes a full spectrum of extended care from custodial services to acute rehabilitation. Across the street is a Mercy-affiliated senior housing facility providing assisted living resources to our geriatric population.

Dignity Health is a Catholic organization. Does that impact the residents' experience in women's health?

Decisions regarding contraception and sterilization are the combined judgment of patient and physician. Our curriculum supports that perspective.