Health Care Providers Impact Statement for Ferry County
Number of docs in 2009: three. That’s 4.0 physicians per 10,000 population1: the lowest rate in eastern Washington. Washington’s rate is 21.2 physicians per 10,000; the national average is about 20.2 per 10,000.2 Washington imports about 85% of its physicians from other states or nations.3
Health professional breakout: The Ferry County Hospital District is staffed by three doctors, two physician assistants and two nurse practitioners. The district operates a hospital in Republic and clinics in Republic and Cusick.4
Current number of WWAMI Spokane medical students from Ferry County: zero
Current number of WSU pharmacy students from Ferry County: zero
Current number of WSU nursing students from Ferry County: one
UW School of Medicine clinical faculty in Ferry County: none5
Health professionals in Ferry County who graduated from Washington colleges: One physician assistant at the Republic hospital graduated from the University of Washington’s MEDEX program.6
Republic serves as a site for medical students looking to practice their skills in a rural setting between their first and second years (Rural/Underserved Opportunities Program). It is not currently a clerkship or residency site.7
Voice from Ferry County: Ron O’Halloran, the recently retired administrator for the Ferry County Hospital District says, for now, he believes his district has enough health care providers to serve Ferry County. But with two faculty members considering retirement, he worries about having to fill vacancies. For now, he says, the district has had good luck recruiting providers. “They’ve found us instead of us having to go out and find them.” One doctor came from Georgia, another from California. O’Halloran says they came for the rural lifestyle. He says Republic has hosted Washington medical students in the past and would like to do so again. “The feedback from students has been positive. They get a chance to interact early with patients and get lots of one-on-one time with our doctors.” He says Republic now has enough staff that it may be interested in creating a residency program for graduate medical students.
About 600 medical professionals in 26 eastern and central Washington communities serve as preceptors (instructors) for UW/WSU medical students. About a third of those work in small cities and towns. In addition, Ferry County hosts some of the 378 providers who train pharmacy students at clinical sites in eastern and central Washington.
Ferry County unemployment rate (Apr. 2013): 11.9% (state average: 7.0% seasonally adjusted, 6.5% not seasonally adjusted)8
Health care/social assistance employment in Ferry County9: 81 (out of 1,600 jobs). It’s the county’s sixth-largest employer, providing about $269,000 million in payroll, about 1.9% of the county’s total payroll.
Tripp Umbach estimate of annual impact of Spokane academic health sciences on Ferry County (2009): one job, $282,000 in economic impact, $22,000 in local taxes
Tripp Umbach projection of annual impact of Spokane academic health sciences on Ferry County (2030): 12 jobs, $2.1 million in economic impact, $148,000 in local taxes
1UW Center for Health Workforce Studies
2UW Center for Health Workforce Studies
3Association of American Medical Colleges
4Numbers gleaned from hospital and clinic websites
5UW Clinical faculty listing: http://depts.washington.edu/fammed/clinical_faculty/listings
6Numbers calculated from hospital and clinic websites
8Washington Department of Employment Security
9Washington Department of Employment Security (third quarter, 2010)
Congressional District: 5
Legislative District: 7
County Seat: Republic
WSU nursing instructors and students are trying to determine why so many Ferry County women die of breast cancer.
"What we are trying to figure out is how we can sustain and support these women with ongoing care."