YAKIMA, Wash. - Three weeks ago, Astria announced it was looking at cutting its residency program for good.
The decision is now off the chopping block. It's a program that gives medical grad students the tools needed to become a care physician.
A statement released from Astria stated they have "strong relationships with both PNWU, and after further conversations with the CWFM regarding their residency program, have decided the relationship is beneficial to both organizations and to the community."
"Astria's choice to continue to support that infrastructure is so important in understanding how much of a global impact to the region it would have had in a negative light had we taken their number of designated CMS slots away from the residency program," said Associate Dean of Postdoctoral Education at PNWU Brandon Isaacs.
Central Washington Family Medicine has sponsored the residency program for more than 25 years. Astria Health inherited that agreement when they bought the hospital last year.
Mike Maples at CWFM says Astria at first didn't understand how the program worked or how much it would cost.
"They realized that the net cost of the program was far less than they had estimated, and seemed to have a full understanding of the importance of the program to Astra and to the community," said Maples.
The residency program trains 10 family physicians per year, half of those 10 this year were PNWU grad students.
So far, 158 students have graduated from that program, and 30 percent of them have stayed in the Yakima Valley.
"Being able to understand how hard it is to recruit a physician, it's sometimes is easier to grow a physician. That's basically what a residency program does. I think they just realized the importance of being able to do that because they have control of returning some of those graduates back into the system," said Isaacs.