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Last 30 days. Last 6 months. We have zero stoplights in Arco. And again that's the county seat.
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So I'm not really aware that there's a stoplight in the entire area. Six years ago, the hospital declared bankruptcy and was set to close. In came Huerta, who invested in new technologies and services. He also focused on recruitment.
Huerta targeted older physicians, semi-retired empty nesters willing to work part time. Some might come out every other Tuesday.
We took a recruit who wanted to get into flying. A friend of ours, a local guy, he owns a plane, and we were like, we're going to take you up in the plane. NOGUCHI: Huerta leans on his staff and organizers of the local church potluck for what he calls an all-hands-on-deck approach to recruitment.
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You know, the big joke in health care is you don't recruit the person. You recruit their spouse. Lost Rivers is now fully staffed. He says recruitment is a life-or-death issue, not just for patients in those areas but for the hospitals themselves. But this shortage of rural health care professionals just is an unfortunate driving issue towards more closures. Over the next decade, another more are at risk and so are the populations they serve.
MORGAN: Most certainly, the workforce shortages in rural America are contributing towards the decreased life expectancy that we're seeing in rural America, too.
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Come here, make a difference. With a population of about 2,, last year The Washington Post ranked it one of the country's most middle of nowhere places. Anderson says he's found success targeting people motivated by mission over money. Staff often house hunt for recruits. They sometimes manage home renovations for incoming workers.
Anderson also personally babysits the children of his staff because Lakin lacks nanny services. But that's among the most important because it communicates we love you. We're going to live in a remote area, but we're going to live here and support each other.
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That allows time for doctors to serve on medical missions overseas. Anderson is not a doctor but a mentor once gave him advice. See why they would want to go there. And I did, and it was life-changing. And I realized that in rural Kansas, we have more in common with rural Zimbabwe than we do with Boston, Mass. Last fall, he joined the staff hoping to continue some of his own mission work in Ecuador, Kenya and Belize.
He says he and his physician wife were also drawn to the surprisingly diverse population the hospital serves.
Creative Recruiting Helps Rural Hospitals Overcome Doctor Shortages
NOGUCHI: In that sense, every day feels like an international medical mission, requiring everything from delivering babies to treating dementia. But Linville says it's also been an adjustment. Transferring a patient to the next biggest hospital in Wichita means the ambulance and staff are gone for an eight-hour roundtrip ride.
He's often reminded that patients see him as another doctor just passing through. And so we get asked frequently, how long are you here for?
Share Tweet Email. The wide-open spaces of Arco, Idaho, appeal to some doctors with a love of the outdoors. Copyright NPR.
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