Physician recruitment is a crucial tool on which organizations like the Health Care Action Team have placed a strong emphasis.
At a recent meeting, the HCAT doubled the funds for physician recruitment from $10,000 to $20,000, but then reduced that amount to $16,000 at their meeting last week. Since that meeting, it became clear the HCAT had the necessary funds to increase the funding to $20,000.
"We have established a new incentive program, but at the time that we had our meeting, we didn't realize we had that much money available," said Dr. Lillian Ney. "Up until now we had been giving $10,000 for incentives to recruit a physician within the areas of need. As you can imagine, that's a small amount in the scheme of things for what it costs to recruit a physician."
There are many costs involved with physician recruitment: recruiter fees, transportation and student loans, which in some cases can be well into six figures.
"With the new health care act, there's even greater need for physicians so the competition is very fierce," Ney said. "The amount that we have been able to give is small, but it's been helpful. As a community, we need to be more competitive about trying to recruit physicians."
According to Ney, when recruiting physicians, it's necessary that they meet several criteria. The must serve the Jamestown area, actively working in their position. In addition, they need to live in the area so that they can be a part of the community. The position that is recruited for must also be an area of practice that is a community need. Before being hired, physicians are credentialed through WCA Hospital, which Ney said is a "very thorough process."
Earlier this year, Dr. Galo Grijalva was recruited to WCA Hospital as a general surgeon, although he also has expertise in laproscopic and bariatric surgery.
"We're very excited about (Dr. Grijalva)," Ney said. "From my point of view and the point of view of the HCAT, we're thrilled about this particular one because it was a collaborative recruitment. I see all the different players around the table collaborating, and this is a nice culmination of a multi-specialty group working with the hospital."
Grijalva, who was educated in West Virginia, went to medical school at West Virginia University and completed his residency at the University of Oklahoma at Tulsa is well-trained and was apparently "very sought after," according to Ney.
"We're currently going out for additional grant monies," Ney said. "We've been very fortunate to have the Lenna Foundation and Chautauqua Region Community Foundation support us for two cycles of our funding. We've pretty much depleted our reserves, though, so understanding the importance of this we're going to go out for additional funding."
"We're hoping to build the program and continue doing this," Ney said. "This was really a shot in the arm for all of us."