Health Care Provider Impact Statement for Garfield County
Number of docs in 2009: one. That's 4.7 physicians per 10,000 population1: the second 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: One MD, one physician assistant and one nurse practitioner work at the Garfield County Hospital District hospital in Pomeroy.4
Number of current WWAMI Spokane medical students from Garfield County: one
Number of current WSU pharmacy students from Garfield County: two
Number of current WSU nursing students from Garfield County: one
UW School of Medicine clinical faculty in Garfield County: none5
Health professionals in Garfield County who graduated from Washington colleges: none6
Garfield County isn't officially active with WSU/UW-related medical education programs, but does periodically host medical students.7 County hospital administrator Andrew Craigie says the district is open to hosting Washington students who want a real dose of rural medicine.
Voice from Garfield County: Andrew Craigie, the CEO of the Garfield County Hospital District, says, for two years, his district (and therefore his county) went without a doctor. Recruiting to one of the most remote parts of the state is difficult. "We really struggled to find someone who wanted to practice in a very rural community," says Craigie. Finally, he convinced a doctor who is a Washington native and a University of Washington medical school grad to bring his family to the rolling hills of southeastern Washington. Until then, the district had relied on three mid-level providers and two Clarkston doctors who periodically visited Pomeroy and provided support over the phone. Craigie says that arrangement wasn't ideal, but it worked. His onsite staff handled the basic cases. He recognizes that Garfield County has to rely on locals if it wants to maintain a consistent medical presence. To that end, he says the district is open to hosting Washington students who want a real dose of rural medicine. Two of his three mid-level providers are natives. One worked as a nurse in Pomeroy before studying to become a nurse practitioner. The other left town to study in the University of Washington's physicians' assistant program, then came home to practice. For now, says Craigie, the county has enough medical coverage.
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, Garfield County hosts a few of the 378 professional preceptors who work with pharmacy students at clinical sites in eastern and central Washington.
Garfield County unemployment rate (Nov. 2012): 6.8% (state average 7.8% seasonally adjusted, 7.3% not seasonally adjusted) 8
Health care/social assistance employment in Garfield County9: 0 (or a negligible number out of 791 jobs).
Tripp Umbach projection of annual impact of Spokane academic health sciences on Garfield County (2030): four jobs, $703,000 in economic impact, $49,000 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: 9
County Seat: Pomeroy
Third-year medical student Mallory Beale of Pomeroy is enjoying the move from the classroom to the clinic.
Read more about Mallory and her background.