WCA Hospital has received a little state-funded relief in its recruitment efforts.
Recently, the hospital was the recipient of two awards totaling $200,000 to address the need for qualified health care providers.
"We are very pleased. This is definitely going to help us in our recruitment efforts. We are appreciative to the state and the support of the community," said Dr. Marlene Garone, medical director at WCA Hospital.
The grants were awarded by the State Health Department under the Doctors Across New York program, which assists in the training and placement of physicians in rural and inner-city areas where a shortage of health care providers has been identified.
Under the program, applicants are eligible for grants of up to $100,000 over a two-year period. The award requires a two-year service commitment from physicians to practice in the underserved community.
"If you are successful in being able to recruit a physician or a specialist from an area that is not considered underserved, then you are eligible," said Karl Sisson, director of development at WCA Hospital.
WCA Hospital received grants for each Dr. Ohigbai Egawikhide, a hospitalist who became part of the program in 2010, and Dr. Bill Fritz, an orthopedic surgeon who joined the staff full-time in the beginning of 2012.
"We are really thrilled that both were approved," Garone said.
Addressing the physician shortage in the area requires support on multiple levels. It also can cost thousands of dollars to the recruiting group.
"It takes a significant investment on the part of whoever it is that's recruiting," Garone said. "That could be a physician group practice or hospital. These grants were put forth to assist both groups of physicians as well as hospitals to help support some of the costs associated with bringing a physician here."
The grant money the hospital received is helpful in reimbursing for part of the expenses of recruiting the two doctors to the area.
"We have dollars invested in the recruitment, in salaries, in everything relating to (recruiting). It's not like it's a full-coverage, it's partial coverage of our recruitment and our reimbursement," Sisson said.
The state Health Department awarded a total of $2,052,383 in awards to 21 hospitals, health centers, medical practices and physicians.
"As it becomes more and more competitive to recruit physicians into rural communities like ours, this is why this is huge that we've been successful in doing this," Sisson said.