Temporary Coverage Relieves Rural Docs

Eureka Kansas

Location: Eureka
Community Engagement Dept: RHES
Program: Kansas Locum Tenens

Kansas Locum Tenens clients testify to its relevance

The shortage of health care professionals in rural Kansas is no secret. But communities can be assured that there are programs addressing the shortage and the difficulties of recruitment and retention in rural areas. A locum, short for locum tenens, is a health care professional who provides temporary coverage for others who take time off. This is an important program addressing the shortage in the state.

Two programs offered in Kansas are the Kansas Locum Tenens (KLT) and Kansas Medical Resource (KMR) programs. KLT services are available to rural physicians in family medicine, general internal medicine and pediatrics. Coverage is provided to physicians in any county in Kansas, except Douglas, Johnson, Sedgwick, Shawnee and Wyandotte counties.

KMR provides temporary medical coverage to rural physicians for general surgery, psychiatry, radiation oncology, anesthesiology, obstetrics/gynecology, family medicine, general internal medicine, general pediatrics and other health care specialties.

Many communities are using locum tenens to fill voids while hiring, to help with retention, to provide covered vacations and as a tool in recruiting new physicians.

The Greenwood County Hospital Emergency Room needed a physician, after one of the three left. This shortage created a large problem in the hospital's Emergency Room, as the two remaining medical staff could not provide all the necessary coverage.

Bruce Birchell, Administrator/CEO, Greenwood County Hospital, began working with the KLT program to provide weekend and holiday coverage. Birchell says the program was very responsive and was able to supply physicians to cover almost all the weekends that needed extra coverage.

“The physicians were highly trained, competent and professional and were well received by the hospital staff and the community,” Birchell said. “The KLT program has been very easy to work with and the program makes an extensive effort to provide the needed coverage.”

Birchell appreciates the KLT and the assistance it has given the hospital.

“I highly recommend the Kansas Locum Tenens program to any facility needing coverage,” he said. “The Kansas Locum Tenens program has been a great help to our facility.”

Everard H. Hughes, M.D., of South Wind Oncology in Garden City, has benefitted from the Kansas Medical Resource (KMR) program. Temporary coverage has been provided in medical oncology/hematology at South Wind Oncology, allowing Dr. Hughes to go on vacation.

Kriz Retsema-Hughes, practice administrator, says that as the only full-time medical oncology practice in western Kansas, South Wind Oncology truly appreciates the wonderful support of the extremely talented, compassionate, intelligent and very competent Hem/Onc fellows.

“Dr. Hughes appreciates that while he is out, all is well for him to rest and relax,” Retsema-Hughes said. “Patients have praised the care and treatment they received while Dr. Hughes is on a much needed vacation, or off to learn the latest in patient treatment plans.”

Last modified: Jan 27, 2014