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How to sell Martinsville to MDs

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Help with physician recruitment is a big factor pushing small-city hospitals into the arms of Indianapolis’ four major hospital systems.

So how could the big boys entice doctors to the small towns? Avoid saying anything specific about the town, and instead tell doctors-to-be they can live somewhere else or go somewhere else.

Morgan Hospital and Medical Center in Martinsville, the latest acquisition by Indiana University Health, tried those tactics in a recent online posting seeking an internist.

“Enjoy a Norman Rockwell-like community with close access to more cosmopolitan environments for cultural events, concerts, museums, shopping, sporting events and dining,” the ad says.

And while it mentions a few things about the job itself and hospital itself—“great practice growth opportunity” and “one-stop primary care hospital!”—it spends most of the time talking about the attractions of Martinsville or, more precisely, not too far outside of Martinsville.

“Morgan sits between Indianapolis and Bloomington, Indiana, so physicians and their families have a variety of living options—rural, larger suburbs or a diverse major university town,” the advertisement says. It added, “The community is also situated in the White River Valley and minutes from the scenic beauty of Morgan Monroe State Forest and Hoosier National Forest.”

Getting adequate numbers of physicians into rural areas has been a challenge for years. It will be interesting to see if large hospitals have any more success at it than the formerly stand-alone systems.

One big advantage they might have—something not mentioned in the advertisement—is the ability to pay higher salaries. Primary care physicians draw annual pay of about $170,000, but generate at least 10 times as much in revenue for a hospital by referring patients to the hospital for the more expensive surgeries and specialty care. Padding the pay a bit upfront can, therefore, be lucrative down the line.
 

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