Thursday, July 10, 2014

Rural Kansas hospital says it has good strategy for recruiting doctors; Michigan ups incentives

While many rural areas have struggled with doctor shortages, medical professionals in Lakin, Kan., say they have uncovered the key to recruitment success, Mike Shields reports for the Kansas Health Institute. "In Kearny County, on the High Plains near the Kansas-Colorado boundary where there are only about five residents per square mile, one small hospital has adopted a distinctive approach to recruitment that in a relatively short time has produced a staff that includes five doctors, five physician assistants and a growing volume of patients."

The key, Kearny County Hospital CEO Benjamin Anderson told Shields, is to direct searches at four specific types of doctors: someone born and raised in the area looking to return home; foreign doctors who gained U.S. resident status by agreeing to work (usually temporarily) in an under-served area; a "challenged doctor" with addictions or other problems who struggles with accountability issues; and a missionary-type person, someone "driven by by mission or purpose” to treat those in need.

Anderson told Shields that doctors they recruit “aren’t that interested in country clubs, not that interested in ego and money and prestige and elite social clubs. What they are there for is to serve. That doesn’t mean our community is Third World, and it doesn’t mean it is inferior. There is need everywhere.” The hospital also offers four-day work weeks, limited emergency-room calls and eight weeks off each year to pursue other interests or missionary work. (Read more)

While that method has worked in Kansas, Michigan is trying to draw new doctors the old fashioned way—through incentives. Gov. Rick Snyder signed a bill this week that hopes to bring more doctors to under-served areas by increasing "the maximum annual repayment benefit for a doctor from $25,000 to $40,000, which "creates a lifetime cap of $200,000," reports the Midland Daily News. It also allows the state Department of Community Health "to give preference to physicians studying general practice, family practice, obstetrics, pediatrics or internal medicine." (Read more)

No comments: