TMH Board approves $45K recruitment incentive |

TMH Board approves $45K recruitment incentive

Ben McCanna

The Memorial Hospital Board was poised to vote Tuesday on an incentive package to recruit doctors to the Craig community.

The incentive to be offered by TMH would provide $45,000 for doctors to join or open a private clinic.

Incentives like this have been offered before, TMH officials said.

Board chairman-elect Don Cook, whose joint conference committee recommended renewing the incentive, offered some background to newer board members.

"There was some heartburn about the incentive package with some board members," Cook said of earlier incentives. "But, in talking with the doctors — especially the newer ones who were recruited — just about everybody … has an incentive package out there."

The board approved the incentive, 6-0.

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George Rohrich, TMH chief executive officer, said the community needs more doctors because doctors Catherine Crowe and Greg Roberts are leaving Moffat Family Clinic in 2011.

Rohrich said the priorities are a pediatrician, a family practice physician and an internal medicine physician.

"If we're looking for those physicians, why do we care if they are in the hospital clinic or in private clinic? Personally, I don't care," Rohrich said.

"It's what's best for the community," board member John Kinkaid said.

"Right," Rohrich said. "If our goal is to recruit those guys, let's just recruit those guys. And, if they decide to go to the hospital clinic or the Moffat Clinic, why care?

"Why close that door?"

At the same time, however, Rohrich acknowledged that there isn't currently enough patient traffic in Craig to necessitate new recruits.

"According to the demand numbers, which is what we use for our basis and always have, we would be right on the money, right on the number, we would have the right amount of family medicine (doctors) — and we lump in internal medicine — when Dr. Crowe and Dr. Roberts leave," the CEO said.

Rohrich said the doctors are needed to fill on-call hours at the hospital.

"We are being sensitive to (on-call). That's what drove this. Not the number of providers," Rohrich said.

Cook agreed.

"Yes, this was mostly driven by call," Cook said. "It's going to put so much pressure on the docs that are left here providing call.

"We don't want to burn them out."

Chief of Organizational Excellence Jennifer Riley said it's not unusual that TMH would pony up $45,000 for providers to work outside their walls.

"It's beneficial to the whole community for us to bring in health care providers," Riley said. "And, obviously it doesn't cost us as much if someone else employs them."

Dr. Larry Kipe, soon-to-be sole owner of Moffat Family Clinic, agreed the incentive is both altruistic and practical.

"It's definitely a big help," Kipe said. "They had it before at $60,000, so it's a little bit of a drop. But still, it's a really nice incentive."

But, there's a flip side, Kipe said.

"It's way cheaper for me to recruit them than it is for (the hospital) to recruit them," Kipe said. "It costs the hospital a lot of money. So, it's kind of good and all, but it's also smart financially if I recruit them than if (the hospital) recruits them."

Nonetheless, the hospital board also paved the way for the hospital to conduct its own search for the same physicians.

Rohrich said physician candidates who visit Craig will be given a choice between employers.

"For example, if and when the Moffat Clinic is recruiting we'll be talking to each other," Rohrich said. "Dr. Kipe and I will be working together to coordinate the (candidate's) visit, and maybe share some of the expenses for site visits.

"We'll both be talking to the candidate, and giving the candidate two different types of situations and possibilities."

However, Rohrich hinted TMH may already have candidates lined up for a pediatrician position.

"I think we're going to fill that kind of rapidly," Rohrich said. "We'd put up kind of a trial balloon to see if there was any interest out there, and we are finding interest. So, that makes me optimistic that sometime in 2011, maybe mid-year, we might be lucky enough to bring a pediatrician to town."

The idea to recruit a pediatrician comes from the community, Rohrich said.

"One of the things that we heard loud and clear from the community focus groups during our planning sessions was that people want pediatrics, and they will go elsewhere if it's not available here," he said. "So, if our customers are telling us what they want, it would be prudent and wise to address it."

Also at the meeting

In other action, The Memorial Hospital Board:

• Approved, 6-0, the reappointment of medical staff privileges for doctors Pamela Kinder and John Sharp.

• Approved, 6-0, the recommendations of the finance committee to purchase HD video equipment for the OR department, and accept the 2011 capital budget with the caveat that purchases in excess of $25,000 be reviewed by the board.

• Approved, 6-0, the qualifications for clinical privileges in anesthesiology.

• Approved, 6-0, the recommendations from the joint conference committee to reinstitute a $45,000 recruitment incentive for a family practice doctor to join a private clinic within the Craig community, and accept the 2011 priorities to recruit a pediatrician, family practice physician and an internal medicine physician.

— Board member Brenda McKey was absent.