Due to a shortage of medical providers,
County Hospital in Lakin, Kansas, had resorted to
turning away at least 50 patients a week from 2014-2015.
Its clinic doors were closed to out-of-county patients in
order to keep up with their own residents of Kearny
County, a sparsely populated and medically underserved
area in southwest Kansas. To address this issue, Kearny
County Hospital bolstered their recruitment plan.
Hospital administration proactively began recruiting
Via Christi's International Family Medicine
Fellowship of Wichita, Kansas. The competitive
one-year fellowship curriculum equips physicians to serve
underserved populations with limited resources. The
training these physicians receive fits the needs of
Kearny County Hospital and, in turn, the hospital's large
immigrant patient population is a draw for these
Kearny County Hospital's recruitment plan includes
medical school loan forgiveness, but the main incentive
is paid time off for doctors to serve internationally as
international service workers. So far, doctors have taken
their vacation time to work in places like Ecuador,
Egypt, Somaliland, Niger, Morocco, Zimbabwe, Mexico,
Jordan, India, Rwanda, Liberia, Kenya, Ghana, and Haiti.
Hospital administration actively recruits three types of
providers to fill the service needs:
- Goers – Commit to staying for several years, but plan
on becoming full-time international service workers
- Senders – Plan on staying long-term while taking
their vacation time to serve internationally.
- Bridgers – Locum tenens who
temporarily fill in for full-time providers.
Because southwest Kansas has become home to 30 different
nationalities, Kearny County Hospital believes that
having international experience better equips doctors to
work in rural areas of Kansas, and vice versa. The
hospital's administration has found that doctors desiring
to serve people in marginalized countries are more
willing to serve poor patients in more isolated areas in
the U.S. where health disparities are similar to what
they encounter internationally.
This video further describes Kearny County Hospital's