Competition for patients is fierce in the Lowcountry health care industry. Hospitals spend untold millions each year advertising the shortest ER wait times, the latest technology and the best specialists.
But in a unique collaboration, Trident Health and the Medical University of South Carolina have quietly been working together for more than 15 years, training the next generation of family doctors in North Charleston. The joint Trident/MUSC residency program for family medicine recently ranked No. 24 in the country among similar programs, beating out residency programs at top hospitals including Boston Medical Center, Duke University and the University of Virginia. This was the second time in two years that the program in North Charleston earned a spot among the top 25 in the country.
The rankings were published by Doximity, an online network for doctors. The list considered several variables including reputation and resident satisfaction surveys.
Dr. Alec DeCastro is the medical director of the Trident/MUSC Residency Program. He is employed by MUSC. The 36 residents-in-training are paid by Trident Health.
DeCastro said the collaboration offers a unique opportunity for residents to practice medicine in a community hospital setting with support from a large academic medical center.
Residents enrolled in the program mainly work at Trident Family Medicine near the North Charleston hospital. They also occasionally work downtown at MUSC, DeCastro said. “It’s a hybrid program.”
Dr. Brendan Neary, a third-year resident, will finish the joint Trident/MUSC program next year. “What is especially appealing about this (residency program) is we have vibrant, busy community hospital ... and we have the backing of MUSC,” Neary said.
Pam Brock, Trident Health’s vice president of marketing, said it makes sense to team up with MUSC. The three-year-long residency program works like an extended job interview.
“We do hire a lot of them,” she said.
MUSC and Tidelands Health in Horry County recently announced they will partner to create a family medicine residency program in Georgetown.
Reach Lauren Sausser at 843-937-5598.