River Region Unveils New Strategy to Lure Physicians, Spouses

A central Alabama community planning group has launched a new campaign to lure physicians and their spouses to the region, according to a Montgomery Advertiser report.

A 2008 study showed that the average age of a River Region physician is 55, and as the population continues to age, the area's emergency rooms have been overwhelmed by patients who turn to hospitals as their primary source of healthcare. As these hospitals struggle to accommodate a rising volume of patients and uncompensated care, it becomes increasingly difficult to attract physicians from a shrinking pool of candidates, the report says.

Envision 2020, a community-driven strategic planning group, last week unveiled a new physician recruitment campaign to recruit and retain physicians: "M.D. Connection — where you're treated well." The campaign seeks to cater to both the physician and the physician's spouse. According to Lynn Beshear, an area planner with Envision 2020, the group found that a physician's spouse decided where to relocate 80 percent of the time, and that spouse often has unique concerns that must be addressed. "Frequently they will have a very highly educated spouse who needs a job," said Ms. Beshear. "That could be the good news or the bad news."

The Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce recently worked with Envision 2020 to help find a local job for an engineer whose wife is a physician, for example, and the group has also built a network of spouses to help showcase the area to visiting physicians and connect their families to others with similar interests.

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