Dr. Paul Lewis Named Designated Institutional Official for BayCare Graduate Medical Education
BayCare has named a veteran BayCare physician, Paul Lewis, MD, FAAFP, CPE, CPHIMS, as the designated institutional official (DIO) for Graduate Medical Education (GME), effective Dec. 11. In this role, Dr. Lewis will be a key leader as BayCare undertakes significant plans to expand its GME offerings to welcome more recent medical school graduates across a growing number of residency programs.
Dr. Lewis received his medical degree from the University of South Florida College of Medicine and completed his family medicine residency in the Morton Plant Hospital-University of South Florida program. He served for several years as a United States Air Force flight physician before coming to BayCare and is board-certified in Family Medicine and Clinical Informatics.
Most recently, Dr. Lewis served as BayCare's director of Evidence-Based Medicine, chairman of the BayCare Continuing Medical Education Committee and director of Continuing Medical Education at Morton Plant Mease. His previous positions at BayCare include program director for the University of South Florida-Morton Plant Mease Family Medicine Residency program and medical director of Physician Informatics.
As DIO, Dr. Lewis, in collaboration with GME Director Karen Navarra and the GME Committee, has the authority and responsibility for the oversight and administration of BayCare's Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) programs and for ensuring compliance with ACGME program and recognition requirements.
GME is the formal medical education that a graduate pursues after earning a medical degree, according to the American Medical Association. WebMD notes that a "resident doctor is a medical school graduate and doctor-in-training who's taking part in a graduate medical education (GME) program,” and they work at doctors' offices or hospitals “to continue their education and training in a specialized field of medicine. A resident may work like this for three to seven years, a period known as residency."
The accreditation journey
In 2020, BayCare was granted Initial Accreditation to become an ACGME-accredited physician residency and fellowship training program sponsor. BayCare underwent an ACGME site visit in January 2023. Subsequently, the ACGME Institutional Review Committee moved BayCare from Initial to 10-year Continued Accreditation status, which is a great leap forward for our health system's planned expansion of GME.
The first two BayCare-sponsored residency programs launched in 2022 were for Psychiatry and Pediatrics and were approved for 24 residents each. These programs join our previously established Family Medicine residency programs affiliated with the University of South Florida at Morton Plant Hospital (24 residents plus two fellows) and Florida State University at Winter Haven Hospital (24 residents).
The Florida State University/Winter Haven Hospital (FSU/WHH) Family Medicine program graduated its first class of residents this year. All five graduates will remain in Florida, which is one step closer to addressing the physician shortage, particularly in the Polk County area.
Following a full site visit in March, the ACGME recently informed BayCare that it moved the Psychiatry residency program into Continued Accreditation status. The Pediatrics program had its full accreditation site visit from the ACGME in September; the results are expected in January.
BayCare welcomed 32 new residents on July 1, and now nearly 80 residents are under the BayCare umbrella.
The future of GME
The following GME programs are in the works:
- An application has been submitted to the ACGME to start a Family Medicine residency program at St. Joseph's Hospital-South.
- A large Internal Medicine program is being planned for St. Joseph's Hospital/St. Joseph's Hospital-North.
- Plans are also being finalized for a Surgery residency program at St. Joseph's Hospital/St. Joseph's Hospital-North.
- A 30-resident Internal Medicine program is in the works for Morton Plant North Bay Hospital.
- The ACGME recently approved a 13-resident Transitional Year program. Like the Family Medicine residency program, this is a joint FSU/WHH program.
All these programs are slated to begin in July 2024 – more than doubling the total number of residents currently enrolled in the health system’s programs.