News Release

Norton County Hospital seeks new doctor

April 30, 2018

NORTON, Kan. – Norton County Hospital recently hired Delta Physician Placement to assist in its recruitment process for a new family medicine physician to add to its medical staff team. The team at NCH currently includes Dr. Glenda Maurer, Dr. Hoa-Dung Nguyen, and Dr. Tom Kriley, as well as three family medicine mid-level providers and one nurse anesthetist: Jonna Inman, APRN; Kristin Vogel, PA-C; Taylor Bieberle, PA-C; and Gary Hembd, CRNA.

“The search process for an additional provider for family practice and labor and delivery services has been underway through word-of-mouth, networking and other informal methods for some time now,” said Gina Frack, NCH’s chief executive officer. “Unfortunately, we just haven’t been able to successfully recruit a new provider this way. It is time we get more aggressive and intentional with the process.”

Frack said adding the fourth physician would spread out the on-call hours covered for emergency and labor and delivery services, and also would give patients another primary care provider option to see at Norton Medical Clinic.

“Recruiting a doctor can be tough in a rural area such as ours,” Frack said. “We hope to find that family practice and obstetrics provider in the next few months, but we are willing to wait. In short, it is more important that we find the ‘right’ provider for us than simply filling a position.”

According to Todd Turrentine, Delta Physician Placement vice president, several factors contribute to the need for that right doctor to join the medical staff in Norton:

  1. Family medicine physicians in communities like Norton have difficult jobs. They are required to care for patients in the clinic and the hospital, care for an average of six patients in the Emergency department daily, deliver babies and perform cesarean sections when needed.
  2. Physicians must be “on-call” for patients in the hospital, patients in the Emergency department and expecting mothers. In today’s world of medicine, the leading cause of physician turnover is burnout. Adding another doctor in Norton would help lower the risk of burnout.
  3. With increased patient access to health care due to the Affordable Care Act, more patients are seeking medical care. This increases the volume of patients at primary care clinics such as Norton Medical Clinic.

Turrentine said Delta Physician Placement specializes in recruiting to rural and remote areas across the United States. In the past 20 years, the company has placed more than 140 physicians in small towns across Colorado, Nebraska and Kansas, including placements in towns such Norton, Hill City, Dighton, Great Bend, Kinsley, Atwood, Liberal, Ulysses and most recently, St. Francis.

The Delta Physician Placement team met with NCH administrators and medical staff recently to obtain more information about the facility and to help find the right doctor. Turrentine said as a starting point, his team has compiled a list of family medicine physicians who are licensed to practice medicine in Kansas, have a Kansas address, attended medical school in Kansas and are trained in a Kansas-based family medicine residency.

“Additionally, we will purchase physician contact information to advertise directly to them with targeted campaigns, such as emails and U.S. mail,” Turrentine said. “We will be targeting physicians in states bordering Kansas. Our recruiters average over 100 phone calls per day, and they will be calling on behalf of Norton County Hospital.”

The hospital will continue to provide updates on its physician recruitment process as more details become available.