PKS Council on Aging Meeting Minutes – November 2022

Doctor talking with patient in a clinical setting

This morning’s guest speakers represent our local Carteret County Hospital, Carteret Health Care: Virginia Cuthrell Executive Director of the Carteret Health Care Foundation, Inc., Physician Recruiter and Liaison; and Dr. Clyde Brooks Chief Medical Officer at Carteret Health Care.

Background to Hospital Issue

PKS residents answering our survey earlier this year probing the challenges to comfortably age in this community felt their current/future health care needs may not be met by available local services.

Specific comments reflected a need for more specialists, more trauma care options, and more professional health care workers nearby.

PKS Council on Aging members John and Anne Clarke stepped up to the challenge to understand the physician recruitment process and, ultimately, find ways to positively affect the process.

After talking with Dr. Brvenik, retired executive of Carteret Health Care and PKS resident, to gain an overview, current decision makers, Ms. Cuthrell and Dr. Brooks accepted the invitation to our November meeting.

Of the 113 acute care hospitals in North Carolina very few are considered independent — a term nearly everyone defines slightly differently.

For the North Carolina Healthcare Association (NCHA), it means not affiliated with or managed by another system. Carteret Health Care is independent which provides our decision makers with more flexibility to maintain a local focus.

Though Carteret Health Care, membership in the Mayo Clinic Care Network, and Carteret County have much to offer, physician recruitment is a complex mix of many factors which include, but are not limited to, these discussion points.

Specialty Practices

Specialty practices are justified based on an evaluation of the community’s ability of the to support them. This determination is represented by population statistics which is summarized as ‘X/1000 population.’

For example, a full-time population of 70,000 in the county is expected to support 1.4 urologists.

The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) organizes demographic data and generates the analyses to solve for ‘X’ for each specialty for each geography. These statistics are constantly reviewed and updated.

Private Practices

Private practice offers physicians a variety of benefits not easily matched in a hospital environment.

Most physicians, however, prefer to be in private practice though they can also maintain a role at the hospital.

That said, to accept privileges each must accept being on call at night and weekends.

Physician Mentorship

It is important to recognize that ‘new’ physicians also look for work environments that provide guidance/mentorship.

Further, physicians enjoy having a colleague in their same specialty to discuss patient care and to share taking calls.

The link with the Mayo Clinic is a giant step to providing collegiality, but there is more that needs to be in place for physicians to feel they have opportunities to grow their career.

Recruitment not only involves the physician, but also his/her family.

While the nearby beaches may be an initial draw, the rural environment and lack of a 4-year university may prove barriers to satisfying all family members.

Going Forward

As a Council, we do not expect to have a direct impact on physician selection. However, we believe our community perspectives can influence choices.

Ms. Cuthrell and Dr. Brooks were open to developing a channel of communication. We will continue to explore this avenue and provide regular updates.

Our next meeting will be on Tuesday, December 13, 2022 at the Hotel Alice at 10:30 a.m.

John and Anne Clarke contributed to this summary.

Official Document

Download a copy of the official PKS Council on Aging Meeting Agenda and Minutes for November 2022.

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