Inverness, FL — Citrus Memorial Hospital broke ground today on a $1.8 million Graduate Medical Education Center. The 15,857 square foot center will feature classrooms, an education auditorium, offices, work space and study hall. Additionally, the GME Center will provide sleep rooms and a common living area for the hospital's interns and residents. It is expected to be complete this August.

"We began our Graduate Medical Education program last year in hope that medical residents complete their training at Citrus Memorial Hospital and decide to stay in Citrus County to practice," said CEO Ralph Aleman. "We remain committed to this effort in investing in a world-class teaching hospital that will attract bright physicians who will care for our community for generations to come."

According to Citrus Memorial Hospital's Chief Medical Officer Raylene Platel, the program is already proving a boon for the hospital and the community. Medical residents allow for more physicians in the hospital to provide patient care and also provide services in a nearby clinic in Inverness: Citrus Internal Medicine Associates.

Citrus Memorial Hospital currently has 15 internal medicine residents and will welcome an additional 21 this summer. The graduate medical residency program is part of a larger GME consortium between USF Health and HCA Florida that was launched in November 2017. The consortium was developed to address Florida's physician shortage by expanding the number of residency positions available in the area. The seven other HCA West Florida hospitals with residency programs include: Blake Medical Center (Manatee County); Brandon Regional Hospital (Hillsborough County); Largo Medical Center, Northside Hospital, and St. Petersburg General Hospital (Pinellas County); Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point (Pasco County); and Oak Hill Hospital (Hernando County).