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Hospitals Address Primary Care in SEK - KOAM TV 7

Hospitals Address Primary Care in SEK

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PITTSBURG, KANSAS -

A lack of primary care is a growing problem in Southeast Kansas, according to administrators at Via Christi Hospital; who estimate 18 to 20 primary care practitioners in Crawford County and expect up to 5 to retire in the next 5 years. 

"We have really been focusing on the problem of recruiting primary care over the last several years," Senior Administrator at Via Christi Randy Carson said. Adding the preferred national standard is one care provider to every 2,500 people. Cason says Crawford County is currently 5 providers shy of that ratio. 

It's why Via Christi is joining with Mercy Hospital, unveiling plans to build a $4.2 million facility in Pittsburg, to place about 9 practitioners in the city. 

"Nationally, these kids of collaborations are happening more and more," Mercy-Joplin President, Gary Pulsipher said. He believes the hospitals pooling together resources will increase chances to recruit practitioners. 

"We have a pretty robust recruiting group and I'm sure Via Christi does too," Pulsipher said. "We get both of those groups working on recruiting, then we think we'll just have a better chance."

Both Via Christi and Mercy say the lack of primary care isn't unique to Southeast Kansas, but part of a larger trend across the country.

"It's kind of an old style. The independent practitioners have to do all of their own staffing, and do all of their own billing, and some of those other things that a lot of the new physicians want nothing to do with," Pulsipher said. "Whereas those independent physicians had to run a business in addition to being physicians."

"I think all organizations throughout the United States are gonna be looking at more innovative ways to solve the healthcare crisis," Cason said. "Whether that be shortage or just meeting the needs of their community."

Construction is set to begin some time next month. 51% of the costs will be covered by Via Christi, with Mercy footing the bill for 49%. The recruitment process for care providers has already begun; as is the bidding process for construction.

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