Recruitment of professionals continues to be a challenge for rural health systems and hospitals across the country. Being two hours from a major city and an international airport is clearly a negative when you are attracting physicians, advanced practice professionals, other highly skilled clinicians and executives to an area. We have done a good job over the years and the building of a new hospital has helped greatly with recruitment. You point to the overall better quality of life, no traffic, the beautiful outdoors, nice people and the tenure of our physicians and staff.
However, recruitment has become more difficult of late. There are declining numbers of prospective candidates for the various hard to recruit for positions and new restrictions on recruiting foreign-born physicians to underserved areas make it additionally challenging to recruit to our area. As a result, it is critical that we promote the assets and advantages that we have to offer. Our City fathers are making that more difficult with the increased number of plighted properties throughout the region. I can assume that the economy has impacted the number, but the condition of some is deplorable, especially those in high traffic areas. One in particular is located just off of the interstate and it is the first property that you see as you get to the downtown area. One structure caught fire in December and sadly three women lost their lives. Today, there is a partially burned structure sitting there. Next to it is an occupied house that could be better described as a large shack with junk cars, trailers and a host of other types of garbage surrounding the property. Bringing prospective candidates to town will continue to be a challenge for a host of other reasons so a little help from those in charge of addressing blight in the city and county is in order.