Team effort required: Recruiting the best health care providers to Western Nevada County
Special to The Union
Amidst other appealing attractions of our region like beautiful natural scenery, outdoor recreational opportunities, and a vibrant arts community, residents enjoy the care of a thriving medical community.
That is what attracted Jason Brown and his family to Northern California two months ago from Dayton, Ohio, where they had lived for 10 years. Brown’s wife, Jacquie, is originally from Auburn, while Jason grew up in the Midwest.
“We love it here. It’s a world-class setting, and it’s easy to acclimate to a place where the people are so friendly,” said Brown.
As the new Business Development Director at Dignity Health Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital, Brown’s job is to entice physicians and other medical personnel to join our community.
While nonprofit hospitals in California are not legally allowed to employee physicians, the hospital plays a critical role in recruiting and supporting physicians for our community.
“Having the right number of physicians and members of the medical workforce, the right types of services, and the capacity to see patients in a timely manner, are all critical to our healthy community,” Brown says.
Brown is excited to get to work on assessing these local needs and will refer to a community needs assessment which is performed every three years in our community. He shares that national standards help provide benchmarks for the number of physicians needed per capita, yet each community is unique.
“Every community is different. We have to look at what is necessary now, and also three years from now. We are proactively recruiting the best physicians and care providers so that we are ahead of the need.”
Physician recruitment has become much more competitive and complicated over the years.
According to a 2018 report on the supply and demand of physicians by the Association of American Medical Colleges, physician demand is projected to continue growing faster than supply. In fact, they project a “total physician shortfall of between 42,600 and 121,300 physicians by 2030.”
The cause of this shortfall is an aging population which has more complex care needs, as well as an aging physician workforce. Baby boomers currently treating patients will soon be retiring and becoming patients themselves.
“There is such a huge need nationally for health care services and we are working to bring all the necessary team members to meet our community’s needs,” shares Brown.
This is why he and the team responsible for recruiting medical providers for our community also focus on providers he calls Advanced Practice Providers: physician assistants, nurse practitioners, midwives, and other specially trained medical personnel.
“They are absolutely necessary to the care we must provide our community,” said Brown.
Brown will work on attracting the best and brightest young physicians to our region by developing a hospital residency program. The program gives physicians an opportunity to explore life in our community. “It allows them to fall in love with us, and for us to see if they are the right fit for our community,” said Brown.
According to Brown, the hospital offers a competitive package with benefits and bonuses.
“Our hospital has so much going for it. We have a great foundation and I think we can take it to the next level to create a destination where people seek our care from outside the community, because we’re so good.”
He also recognizes that physician recruitment goes beyond the physician. “We understand that spouses are intimately involved in choosing where the family will live. We try to show families all that our community has to offer them, from real estate options, to community tours and recreational activities.”
The efforts to support physicians continue once a physician decides to join our community.
Donna Sakach, Medical Staff Director, oversees the credentialing process for physicians. Chris Ulinski, Market Development Representative, acts as the hospital liaison in the community.
Jeff Rosenberg, MD, Chief Medical Officer, oversees the hiring, evaluation and training of physicians at the hospital, and Andrew Chang, MD, has the important role of Chief of Staff.
According to Brown, the most prominent areas of need we have within our community is for new primary care providers, cardiologists and obstetricians.
When asked how community members can help with the efforts of physician recruitment, Brown said, “Share your gratitude with the physicians and health care providers who are already serving our community. Feeling loved and appreciated is more important than you imagine.”
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