UW physician residency plan gets trial run in Wenatchee

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WENATCHEE -- A proposal to establish a physician residency program in Wenatchee -- a way to entice new doctors to stay in the area -- is on hold as local physicians experiment with another program.

That program, out of the University of Washington, will bring physician residents to the area in 2014, and may, eventually, help serve the expected influx of patients under Obamacare.

"We'll see how it works, and how good of a job we can do educating residents," said Dr. Pete Rutherford, chief executive officer at Confluence Health, which operates two hospitals in Wenatchee and clinics throughout NCW.

"If that is a positive experience, then, in the future, maybe a year or two down the road, we will have more answers about opening our own residency program."

Starting in 2014, four residents from the University of Washington will work in Wenatchee in internal medicine. Also, some residents in family practice may work in the city.

"Residents are good because they let the university see what kind of medicine can be practiced in smaller communities, and, secondly, it lets us see how good the residents are and if we should be interested in talking to them about being hired."

Rutherford said internal medicine doctors would be working with Wenatchee Valley Medical Center physicians. Family physicians in residence may work at Columbia Valley Community Health.