Experts predict a nationwide shortage of physicians in primary and specialty care will grow during the next decade. In fact, many healthcare organizations already find it difficult to fill positions in some specialties.
“We have a program in place to bring high-quality and qualified physicians to our medical staff to take care of our patients when they are in the hospital and when they need outpatient care,” said Lindy Kirk, director of the Physician Recruitment and Retention Department at Columbus Regional Health (CRH).
A Multifaceted Approach
Kirk’s team includes Pam Olsen, a physician recruiter, who grew up in Columbus and has been with CRH for 25 years, and Baley Waltz, an administrative assistant, who recently joined the department. Kirk has been at CRH for 29 years.
Some of the strategies they use to recruit physicians include web advertising, recruitment fairs, working with residency program directors, physician-to-physician networking and recruitment firms.
Kirk says the department looks for physicians who have ties or a spouse with connections to Indiana or the Midwest. Then they recruit the entire family to make sure CRH is a good fit for physicians, their spouses and their children.
“Families like the idea of having the benefits of living in a small community and living close enough to enjoy three large cities,” Kirk said. “They also find that our leadership team is welcoming and approachable, and that the community embraces newcomers. It’s really a team effort to bring physicians and families to Columbus and keep them here.”
Meeting the Community’s Needs
Recently, Kirk’s department worked with a consultant to assess the needs of CRH and Columbus Regional Health Physicians. They looked at growth projections, community needs and upcoming physician retirements, among other factors. Then they developed a comprehensive three-year strategic plan.
Kirk said they have set a goal to recruit 21 to 29 physicians this year, with a total of 56 new physicians by 2021.
“Last year, our retention rate was 95%,” Kirk said. “Fortunately, when physicians choose CRH, they’re likely to stay here.”
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