IU Health is aggressively recruiting primary care physicians in order to keep up with demand in Starke County. Vice President for Strategy Brian Donnelly says there are nine currently practicing here.
“By 2017, four of those nine physicians will have reached age 72. I personally am not aware of any retirements pending. I don’t know that we’ve gotten a firm date from any of these folks. That’s not up to me to decide how long doctors practice, but at least in terms of looking at reality four of the nine physicians will be late in their careers when we get to 2017. This to us looks like a shortage,” Donnelly told the Starke County Commissioners.
He added IU Health is committed to making sure Starke County has adequate primary care coverage.
“Regardless of whether the docs retiring are independent or employed by us, we see it’s our responsibility to fill the primary care need in Knox, period, and we are planning to do that.”
Donnelly says IU Heath’s three-year plan for primary care recruiting includes adding a net two primary care providers in 2014. If any physicians retire, he says the corporation will have to be more aggressive in its recruiting measures. He says the ultimate goal is a net gain of three to four primary care physicians along with more physicians assistants and nurse practitioners and specialty clinics.
Donnelly told the Starke County Commissioners last week that IU Health works with head hunters in the medical field to identify and recruit providers and is prepared to offer them signing bonuses and other incentives to attract them to the area.