Scott Street: Health care a community responsibility
Recruiting physicians to rural areas can be a tough job these days. But doing so isn’t just the responsibility of local health care providers, says Scott Street, CEO of El Dorado’s Medical Center of South Arkansas (MCSA).
“It’s the responsibility of the entire community,” he says. “It is important to engage key stakeholders in the community with your recruitment strategy. Work with your local chamber of commerce, mayor, board of trustees, leaders of large organizations and school systems to recruit as a team approach.”
El Dorado officials are doing their part, and MCSA is making significant progress in returning comprehensive health care access to south Arkansas. Street’s blueprint includes building a recruitment team of local leaders who are kept up to date on all hospital news, progress and strategic plans. They need to be able to “testify” to the environment of the hospital and your patient care, he says.
“It is also very important to use these key stakeholders to get to know the resources your community has to attract potential candidates,” Street adds. “El Dorado has some amazing benefits that have improved recruitment efforts in the last couple years including the El Dorado Promise and its public school system, the Murphy Arts District, the South Arkansas Arts Center, nationally recognized golf courses like Mystic Creek and an active Main Street Downtown Association.”
Partnerships and access to advancements in technology will continue to play key roles in expanding access in rural areas, he says.
“All health care organizations have a responsibility to increase health care access and provide the best possible care to residents in rural areas,” he says. “That being said, like everything else it is hard to do it alone. Making strategic alliances allows two organizations to come together for a common mission, providing great patient care. Forming alliances helps accomplish this through sharing best practices, assets, strategies and resources.”
Rural areas in particular should benefit from new technology such as advancements in telemedicine.
“Because of the difficulties we face recruiting subspecialists to rural areas and the geographical distance limiting patient access to specialists, telemedicine is now being used to help bridge that gap,” Street says. “Telemedicine is becoming more widely accepted by patients and has proven its benefits by making health care more accessible and providing lifesaving services.”