Sorensen: Physician retention "needs work"

Regional West Medical Center President and CEO Dr. Todd Sorensen says physician retention will continue to be a challenge.

Sorensen told the Scottsbluff Noon Kiwanis Club that since the Integrated Physicians Clinic was established over four years ago they have added 48 physicians. However, twelve of those physicians have left. Sorensen says he's not pleased with that rate and knows they need to make efforts to improve it.

Sorensen says the hospital needs to be more selective in the people recruited. But he noted there are a number of very good physicians that are now part of the hospital since the recruitment process started.

In addition to those that left, eleven physicians retired and one died, leaving the hospital with a positive gain of 24. Sorensen says physicians are more mobile now than when he was practicing, especially in cases where they are part of physician clinics and don't have major investments in their own practices.

Sorensen also confirmed the surgical suites construction planned by the hospital when they moved Avenue B is on hold. Sorensen says the number of surgeries being performed at the hospital started declining when the project was completed, a time when nationwide the same thing was happening due to the recession.

Sorensen said with the decline and the uncertainties surrounding the health care bill, the hospital has put the proposed $50 million expansion on the back burner until there is a "clearer view of where we are headed." Sorensen also noted the hospital has made improvements to existing surgery suites that have helped lessen the need for expansion.

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