MARINETTE - An expected physician shortage is ultimately what jump-started the plans for expansion.
Areas in the most need are rural and underserved urban areas, but officials say the new medical college will help.
For more than 25 Years, Bay Area Medical Center in Marinette has served the Northwoods.
Currently, the hospital employs around 80 physicians.
"The fact is everyone is getting older all the time, you always have to be looking ahead for recruitment and retention and the needs are ever changing as well," explained Bay Area Medical Center CEO Ed Harding. "The needs of the patients are always growing, you have to make sure you have the right numbers and of course the right mix of medical staff."
But recruiting at a rural hospital hasn't always easy.
"Typically it's more difficult to recruit physicians to rural areas because the lifestyle can be more difficult and we've had our share of difficulty in recruiting people to come up north," Harding said.
However, Harding believes having a medical college nearby will help.
"The Medical College of Wisconsin is deeply committed to developing an expanded medical education program that will address the need for primary care in underserved communities across the state," said Medical College of Wisconsin CEO Dr. John Raymond during a news conference on Monday.
According to a report by the Wisconsin Hospital Association, the state needs to add 100 doctors a year, to avoid a big shortfall by 2030.
Reports also show more than 75 percent of Wisconsin citizens who receive both their medical education and residency training in Wisconsin remain in the state to work.
"That's why it's a great day, there's more capacity to go to school here," Harding said. "The next step of course will be for the hospitals to step up and offer residency slots so then people can stay here so we can retain them."
Harding says the Bay Area Medical Center is interested in providing residency opportunities.
Medical college officials say other area health systems have shown similar interest.
The first class of students at both campuses will target a minimum of 15 students per class.
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