Top Dollar Spent in Medical Talent Search

by Luke Jones  on Monday, Sep. 24, 2012 12:00 am  

"Sometimes we continue to search and don't get anything," he said. "That occupational therapist we've been looking for for years."

Since Mena isn't officially designated as a medically underserved area, Bowen said, the hospital doesn't qualify for state or federal grants or for loan forgiveness that some rural clinics use as incentives. To be competitive, the hospital does sometimes offer loan forgiveness, but it's siphoned out of the hospital's budget.

"Anything we do is 100 percent us," he said. "It's tough enough as it is, the amount of money we have to fork out."

Bowen, who is profiled as one of this week's "20 in Their 20s," said growing up in Mena helps him discern which people will be more comfortable living in a rural area.

"It's a sales pitch when you bring them in," he said. "We look for people who want to be in a rural environment, who like hunting, fishing, camping, hiking. It doesn't help you to spend all the money, tens of thousands of dollars, recruiting if the people aren't the right fit for the area."

A recruit who spends a year at the hospital and then leaves hurts more than it helps, Bowen said.

"It takes a long time to get their practice up and established," he said. "You need them to be here for a few years just to recoup all the money you spent to get that person here."



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