Incentives For Physicians

The drive to attract quality physicians to the area took another important step last month.

On Jan. 29, the Health Care Action Team hosted a meeting with representatives from several community foundations to raise money for a recruitment fund. The Health Care Action Team is a working group of the Strategic Planning and Partnerships Commission, and was formed to focus on the impact of health care on development in the community, as well as accessible, high-quality health care for residents. The group is working toward raising money to offer more of a recruitment incentive to physicians who come work in the area. Dr. Lillian Vitanza Ney, action team chairwoman, said the previous incentive was $10,000, but now the group wants to offer $20,000 to $50,000 based on the physician’s area of expertise.

The action team set its priority list at the end of 2013, with primary care physicians topping the recruitment agenda. Orthopedics was second on the list, with neurology and neurosurgery, which should be connected to an academic center, third and fourth on the list, respectively. Ophthalmology, ear, nose and throat and obstetrics and gynaecology rounded out the list. The team also made a priority recruitment list for specialty gaps, which included infectious disease; rheumatology; pulmonology; endocrinology; and dermatology.

Ney said about 30 people attended the group meeting, with representatives from the Chautauqua Regional Community Foundation; Gebbie Foundation; Hultquist Foundation; Jessie Smith Darrah Fund; Lenna Foundation; Judith J. Anderson Family Foundation; and Ralph C. Sheldon Foundation. Along with Ney, several people spoke about the need for the recruitment grant, which included Dr. Marlene Garone, WCA Hospital medical director; Dr. John LaMancuso, Jamestown Area Medical Associates; Kevin Saff, Jamestown Area Medical Associates executive director; Dan Tota, WCA Hospital physician services director; and Katie Geise, Chautauqua Workforce Investment Board executive director.

Ney said the goal is $250,000 for the recruitment fund that will go to assist area health organizations recruiting several physicians.

“The grant application is going online to the foundations this week,” Ney said. “I hope to present individually to foundations who would like more in-depth information.”

The presentations included a checklist of costs related to physician recruitment, which included $25,000 to $35,000 for contingency/retainer recruiter placement fee; $5,000 to $10,000 for ancillary recruiter expenses; $1,000 to $2,000 for airline tickets, hotels and food; $10,000 to $50,000 for signing bonus; $5,000 to $10,000 for relocation allowance; $180,000 and up for salary guarantee and bonus incentives; $10,000 to $50,000 for loan forgiveness; $10,000 to $45,000 for malpractice insurance; $5,000 to $10,000 for 401K contribution; $15,000 to $20,000 for medical, dental, and vision for the physician and their family; and money for a down payment on a house and to help find employment for the candidate’s spouse.

“All members of the panel acknowledged that our ‘Grow Our Own’ program – following our own young people who are interested in health care, from high school, through college, medical school, residency and fellowship training programs – need to be followed and encouraged to return home, extending to them various internships, clerkships, shadowing programs, networking programs, etc,” Ney said. “This effort will lead to the best results and will result in better retention.”

Health Care Action Team membership includes officials from the Strategic Planning and Partnerships Commission; City Council; physicians; WCA Hospital; the Chautauqua County Health Network; the Chautauqua County Health Department; the Resource Center; Jamestown Community College; the Chautauqua County Office of the Aging; Chautauqua Works; the Jamestown Renaissance Corporation; and foundation representatives.