LAWTON, OK (KSWO)- Comanche County Memorial Hospital's Family Medicine Residency Program is celebrating a big milestone. They have received their ACGME accreditation. CCMH wants to ensure that their residents are receiving the best and most comprehensive training, and this achievement shows that they are.
The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education, or ACGME, is an independent, non-profit, physician-led organization that sets and monitors the standards for effective training programs like the family medicine residency program at CCMH.
"We feel like it's a great achievement for our residency program." Dr. Karen Schafer is the family medicine residency program director. She says this accreditation a big deal. "It just kind of helps us affirm that we are a great residency. And we are up there in the highest tier with the nation. So, it's great."
Dr. Mercedes Bernard, chief family medicine resident, says it means a lot to her as well.
"Most of our impact is for rural health in Oklahoma. So, by having this program ACGME accredited, that means that this program is here to stay. So, by doing that, now we've got this program that's going to live a little bit longer out here in southwest Oklahoma."
CCMH and Oklahoma State University sponsor the program, and Dr. Shafer says those partnerships help with the lack of family doctors in Oklahoma.
"It's allowed us to bring Oklahoma residents here to Lawton, Oklahoma. So, we have a lot of grow your own kind of people. A lot of our residents have been born and raised in Oklahoma. So, they understand our state, and understand some of the medical issues."
While this ACGME accreditation shows that CCMH is hard at work to ensure the best training possible for future physicians, they are also working to provide the best care possible to patients, by extending the hours at the Lawton Community Health Clinic Pediatric Sick Clinic. Now on Monday's and Thursday's the pediatric clinic will be seeing patients from 6 to 7:30 in the evening.
"Now Mom doesn't have to take off from work, we don't have to pull their kiddo out of practice or out of school to see a Physician. We just felt like that was a void that needed to be filled for families who are working and children who are busy in school and still need to be seen," said Dr. Mercedes Bernard.
Dr. Schafer says they started their program back in 2014, and really feels like it's benefiting Southwest Oklahoma.
"We're training family docs for here. And they're staying, it's working."
The Lawton Community Health Center's Pediatric Sick Clinic is extending their hours Monday and Thursdays from 6:00 to 7:30 PM. You can call and make an appointment at 580-355-5242, they also take walk-ins. The health center's regular hours remain the same and are still available to everyone.