Becker’s Hospital Review – May 11, 2016
Surgery programs are an integral part of most hospitals, but one type of hospital is struggling to build and maintain them — rural hospitals.
Hundreds of rural counties in the U.S. have no access to a local surgeon, a phenomenon known as “surgical deserts,” according to Leon Owens, MD, president and CEO of Surgical Affiliates Management Group. According to a 2009 report from American College of Surgeons Health Policy Research Institute, 30 percent (925) of the 3,107 counties in the U.S. lacked a single surgeon.
This is not only bad for patients who are forced to travel far from home for surgery, but it is also detrimental for these rural hospitals, which miss out on patient volume and a major potential source of revenue in cash-strapped times.
However, a couple obstacles stand in the way of rural hospitals that want to get a surgery program off the ground. Recruiting a surgeon to this type of practice setting can be a tough sell, says Dr. Owens.