Doctor recruitment efforts paying off

Duane Hicks

Physician recruitment efforts have been paying off here.
It’s municipal budget time, and the Fort Frances and District Physician Recruitment and Retention Committee once again is asking town council for its continued financial support of recruitment efforts.
In a letter from Dr. John Nelson, chair of the Fort Frances and District Physician Recruitment and Retention Committee, he noted a new family physician is set to arrive this September and already has acquired property here.
A new general surgeon, Dr. Karim El-Tawil, began his full-time practice in November, and he and his family have relocated here and are settling in.
The other general surgeon, Dr. Shiraz Elkheir, who arrived in 2016, recently acquired a home.
As well, three family physicians from the 2015 recruitment class (Drs. Marc Ruppenstein, Vaishali Patel, and Melanie Kowal) also purchased homes here.
Meanwhile, Riverside Health Care physician recruiter Todd Hamilton said he’s hoping to get more doctors to Fort Frances later this year.
“There are a few family physicians and anesthetists on our recruitment radar,” he told the Times.
“They are considering our community and we are hoping to get some positive news by spring, summer, or fall,” he added.
“Physicians today have unlimited options and very attractive incentives are available from every comparable community to Fort Frances,” Hamilton warned.
“It is a competitive market.”
Dr. Nelson said in his letter this string of recent recruitments is “all good news to stabilize our clinic and continue to provide critical hospital services.”
“New doctors also add a few more children in our schools and new families to the community,” he added.
“Along with successful recruitment and retention comes financial challenges,” noted Dr. Nelson.
“We are pleased to report our successful recruiting efforts are paying off, but we are also in need of further funding, especially for incentives and moving costs.
“Our committee continues to search for additional sources of support and ways to maximize the resources that we do have,” he remarked.
“Sustainability is an agenda item that we discuss at every meeting.”
As such, the committee is asking for $67,000 from the town, which is about the same amount it received last year.
Council referred Dr. Nelson’s request to the Administration and Finance executive committee for its recommendation.