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New accreditation could benefit surgeon recruitment

Hank Hayes • Sep 19, 2019 at 7:00 PM

KINGSPORT — Our region now has a new tool to recruit more surgeons to the area.

It’s because the East Tennessee State University / Quillen College of Medicine Orthopedic Residency Program has been accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME).

The program is a five-year residency providing orthopedic trainees with the clinical and surgical knowledge necessary for all aspects of orthopedic surgery. The primary objective of the program is to graduate skilled orthopedic surgeons with high-quality operative expertise.

East Tennessee State University is the sponsoring institution for the program. Kingsport's Holston Valley Medical Center, a Ballad Health hospital, is an orthopedic residency hospital.

“To have a program like this in our city solidifies for us that we are investing in our teaching program,” said Lindy White, Ballad Health vice president and CEO of Kingsport Market Operations. “What excites me about this is this is a partnership between our academic university and our hospital and our community physicians who are faculty. For us to have this training program in Kingsport is something we should take pride in.”

Dr. Daniel Krenk, who specializes in the treatment of orthopedic trauma injuries, pointed out the residency programs of the former Wellmont Health System and Mountain States Health Alliance were with two accreditation boards.

“The good thing about it is that we can continue to train orthopedic residents for the region and locally as well,” Krenk said of the ACGME designation. “The residents are evaluated as they go through their training. They have a minimum number of requirements for surgeries. They also have a requirement for exposure to pediatric orthopedics. They have goals and standards while they go through that training.”

The residents, Krenk also pointed out, work with Ballad Health and other private practices and have to meet the same standards taught in major U.S. markets.

Dr. Jeffery Marchessault, another orthopedic surgeon, said a large number of the residency applicants are from our region.

“As the medical students make their choice for residencies, they also look for locations of residencies,” Marchessault stressed. “Some of them do residencies closer to home and closer to family because it is a five-year program. We have a healthy number of people staying in the area because of their knowledge of the area.

“The residents represent us. They know by and large what’s expected of them as their level of care, their communication skills, their professionalism. I make an impression on them that these are our private practice patients. I want them to feel like family and get the best care possible.”

Dr. Herb Ladley, a cardiologist and the health system’s chief medical officer, noted this accreditation will allow the stakeholders to think about potentially expanding the residency program.

“On average, we were having 300-500 applicants for two spots,” Krenk said. “Now we expect to get 1,500-2,000 applications, nationwide.”

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