October 14, 2019
NORTON, Kan. – Norton County Hospital extends its gratitude to three community partners that helped financially support physician recruitment efforts. Partners included the Norton County Community Foundation, Norton City/County Economic Development and the Norton Regional Health Foundation, with each entity contributing $15,000 to the hospital for a total of $45,000 to offset recruitment expenses incurred. These gifts, which were presented to the hospital in the fall of 2019, show a strong overall community commitment to the hospital and its sustainability for the future.
Norton County Hospital CEO Gina Frack said that recruitment efforts are always ongoing as the hospital works to meet the health care needs of Norton County communities and the surrounding region. These efforts are necessary, but they are costly in time and financial resources. A few examples of recruitment expenses have included recruiter fees, physician onsite visits, legal fees, staff travel to career fairs and recruiting events, and the use of locum – or temporary – provider coverage (still ongoing) while awaiting the arrival of more permanent physicians.
The result of these efforts over the past 18 months is extremely positive; the hospital was able to announce in August that three family practice and obstetrics physicians have signed contracts and will begin employment at Norton County Hospital on Sept. 1, 2020. These new physicians – Dr. Josh Gaede, Dr. Miranda McKellar and Dr. Theresia Neill – will join the hospital’s current providers that include Dr. Glenda Maurer, Kristin Vogel and Jonna Inman.
“It is with great appreciation that we accept the generous donation made by each of these entities toward the recruitment efforts of Norton County Hospital,” Frack said. “As we brought potential physician recruits into the community, we always spoke of community support for them. This act of financial giving from diverse entities toward the recruitment process validated what we expressed to potential candidates in words.”
Frack added that as the hospital moves forward, it will have numerous needs yet to address. Specifically, when the three new physicians begin working in 2020, the plan is to add more advanced practice providers to the medical team to help with Emergency department coverage. Securing great staff in all departments, not just providers, is essential for the hospital to achieve its mission of empowering health and wellness.
“We are also already looking at our equipment needs to support new services and/or procedures by these three new physicians, as well as updating some current equipment,” Frack said. “Blending the needs of our current providers and the new physicians is important. Facility updates are also necessary for regulatory compliance, safety for both patients and staff, and to allow NCH to expand services.”
The Norton County Community Foundation was established in 1994 for the purpose of supporting local charitable activities in Norton County through endowments made to the foundation. Its mission states that it is “dedicated to serving today for tomorrow, to make our community a better place in which to live."
"Norton County Community Foundation is always happy to be a community partner, and this grant for physician recruitment at the Norton County Hospital is critical to our county’s success,” said Tara Vance, NCCF executive director. "There has been a Physician Recruitment Fund at NCCF since 1994; supporting our medical community was of utmost important to our founders, and it continues to be valuable to our board of directors and donors. We are proud to have been part of this collaborative effort, which will positively impact our community for years to come.”
Norton City/County Economic Development is a countywide partnership dedicated to enhancing the economic strength of the county, primarily focusing on the areas of workforce and entrepreneurial development, recruitment, retention, training to support local businesses and improving the quality of life for all of Norton County.
“Health care is one of a few very basic economic development components that are critical to providing a base of community vitality and sustainability in a rural setting,” said Mike Posson, Norton City/County Economic Development executive director. “I’m thankful to be working for a board and side-by-side with numerous community partners who share this vision of combining our limited resources to make a greater impact; the end-result of these relationships and shared visions will be a stronger health care community for Norton County.”
The Norton Regional Health Foundation is a nonprofit organization that started in 2016 and accepts gifts for the benefit of local community health and health care projects. The foundation is housed within Norton County Hospital and its mission is "to support the enhancement of quality health care for the residents of Norton County and surrounding counties.”
“The Norton Regional Health Foundation is a fairly new nonprofit and has been pleased to help the hospital with many equipment purchases, scholarships for nursing students and now these crucial recruitment efforts,” said Katie Allen, NRHF executive director. “Earlier in 2019, our foundation provided another $16,700 in in-kind and direct support for physician recruitment, so with this additional gift, our foundation contributed $31,700 this year alone for recruitment. This shows a strong commitment of the board members and donors in ensuring these efforts continue to be successful. We are also thankful to partner with other organizations to collectively build a stronger Norton County.”
More information about the supporting partners can be found on their respective websites.