The Memorial Hospital wraps up physician site visits

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In other actions

The hospital board:

• Approved, 6-0, purchase of iDashboard reporting software and a server at a cost not to exceed $24,500.

• Approved, 6-0, the reappointment of Jona Ely, nonphysician healthcare provider staff, to associate staff. The medical staff executive committee unanimously recommended reappointment.

• Approved, 6-0, the appointment of podiatrist Eric Jaakola to provisional staff. The medical staff executive committee unanimously recommended the appointment.

• Approved, 6-0, the appointment of radiologists Samuel Ahn, Scott Evans, Ross Goldstein, Jeffrey Guyon, John McDonald and Joseph Morgan to associate staff. The medical staff executive committee unanimously recommended the appointment.

• Approved, 6-0, the appointment of surgeon Jeffrey Womble to active staff. The medical staff executive committee unanimously recommended the appointment.

• Approved, 4-2, a recommendation from the credentials and joint conference committees on granting privileges for procedures not considered "core privileges" for hemorrhoidectomies. Board chairman Melton Sullivan and board member Corrie Ponikvar voted against the proposal.

• Approved, 6-0, a bid recommendation from the building committee for reclamation work on the new hospital site. The board hired Downey - Erosion Control & Hydroseeding for $39,160 to complete wetland mitigation work.

• Approved July 30 board meeting minutes, July financial results report and meeting minutes for the medical staff, joint conference, finance, building and quality committees.

Ask George Rohrich, The Memorial Hospital's chief executive officer, about the hospital's primary area's of emphasis right now, and he'll give you a quick answer.

"The new hospital and physician recruitment," Rohrich said, after Wednesday night's TMH board meeting. "They're my top two priorities, and they're directly related."

In the CEO's report to board members, Rohrich said six family/internal medicine physicians recently made site visits to the area, in an ongoing recruitment effort. The last site visit was Monday.

By next month, Rohrich said he hopes to have an announcement on a potential new doctor or doctors for TMH and area clinics.

"I won't make any predictions at this point," he told the board.

Between TMH's clinic and three others, the roster of family/internal medicine physicians is limited to six, or half of the 11 doctors a population-to-physician ratio for Moffat County and TMH's surrounding service area indicates the number should be.

The low number of available doctors is inconvenient for local patients and also puts additional strain on the existing family/internal medicine physicians, Rohrich said.

Seeing all patients is difficult for existing local doctors, given the shortage, Rohrich said, "but they're trying to do it."

The shortage could mean patients are going to the emergency room instead, or migrating to other communities for visits, the CEO said. Either way, ongoing recruitment for additional physicians is a must, he said.

Rohrich said family practice and internal medicine are "cornerstones of what we do at the hospital."

Negotiations have begun with some of the six doctors who made site visits. Rohrich said he's confident a new addition to the local health care community would come from the pool of candidates.

"We're going to get someone out of the six," he said.

A reasonable goal of TMH's recruitment efforts would be adding two more doctors this year and two others by summer 2009, Rohrich said.

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