Patients look to their primary care doctors for disease prevention, medical testing, and management of chronic diseases, but when you call for an appointment it could be weeks before you’re able to see a doctor. That’s because of primary care shortage, it’s a problem Nationwide and here in Sarasota.

But Sarasota Memorial Hospital is hoping a new residency program can help put more doctors to work in the area and keep them here.

Graduating Medical Students were hoping the luck of the Irish was with them this St. Patrick’s Day.

“Today is Match Day, so all across the county about 42,000 students,” Residency Program Director Dr. Wilhelmine Wiese-Rometsch said. “Medical Students from the United States and all over the world find out where they train.”

But Sarasota Memorial Hospital Chief Medical Officer Dr. Steve Taylor says they’re the lucky ones. With 13 Internal Medicine Residents who are able to provide primary care services in Sarasota.

“In this area the last time we checked,” Dr. Taylor said. “There is a shortage of probably 50-60 Primary Care Physicians just in our immediate area, so this, hopefully, will help us address that.”

13 new Residents a year will mean 39 new doctors practicing in Sarasota by 2020.

SMH is opening a new practice in Newtown, so Residents can train in continuity of care, while helping a medically underserved community.

“We thought it would help provide access to care for those patients,” Dr. Taylor said. “Who maybe their diabetic, or maybe they have heart disease or lung disease, and so the residents will provide that care. They’ll see those patients on a regular basis.”

And the residency program could mean even more doctors for the area over the long term.

Residency Program Director Dr. Wilhelmine Wiese-Rometsch Residents usually stay in the area they train.

“Our goal is that we provide them with such an exceptional not only training experience,” Dr. Wiese-Rometsch said. “But overall experience in the community of Sarasota that some will choose here to stay and establish their roots here.”

Wiese-Rometsch says they looked for students for the program with ties to Florida, and a passion for Primary Care in order to increase the chances of Residents staying.

Residents will start the new program in July.