A northeast Georgia health care system has announced that it will begin planning for a new graduate medical education program at its hospital in Athens.
St. Mary's Health Care System made the decision to add a residency program after years of study.
Charlie Upchurch, chairman of the system's board of directors, said in a statement helping to prepare the next generation of doctors is an important part of its mission.
Physicians typically spend three or more years in resident training at hospitals or other medical facilities after graduating from medical school.
The St. Mary's board has not yet set a timeline for the program. St. Mary's spokesman Mark Ralston said administrators don't yet know details on the number of residencies or their medical specialties.
Next year’s state budget includes funding for 400 additional residency slots in Georgia. The goal is to ease a doctor shortage in the state; Georgia is expected to need at least 2,500 more doctors by 2020.
Contributors: GPB's Joshua Stewart contributed to this report.