Health Care Provider Impact Statement for Grant County
Number of docs in 2009: 73. That's 8.3 physicians per 10,000 population1, the eighth lowest rate in eastern Washington. Washington's rate is 21.2 physicians per 10,000; the national average is about 20.2 per 10,0002 Washington imports about 85% of its physicians from other states or nations.3
Health professional breakout:
---Samaritan Hospital in Moses Lake employs 16 physicians and three physician assistants and two physician assistants at its urgent care clinic.
---Coulee Medical Center in Grand Coulee has three physicians and one osteopath. It also has one physician assistant and four nurse practitioners.
---Wenatchee Valley Medical Center says 46 MDs, one DO, nine physician assistants and seven nurse practitioners work at its clinic in Moses Lake and one physician assistant at its Royal City clinic.
---Ephrata Medical Center has one doctor and two physician assistants.
---Columbia Basin Hospital in Ephrata has two doctors, a physician assistant and a nurse practitioner.
---Quincy Valley Medical Center in Quincy employs three doctors, one physician and one nurse practitioner.4
Number of current WWAMI Spokane and Pullman medical students from Grant County: three
Number of current WSU pharmacy students from Grant County: two
Number of current WSU nursing students from Grant County: 13
Number of current WSU Spokane nutrition/exercise physiology students from Grant County: two
Number of current WSU Spokane speech/hearing sciences students from Grant County: five
UW School of Medicine clinical faculty in Grant County: seven MDs and one DO5
Health professionals in Grant County who graduated from Washington colleges:
---Samaritan Hospital in Moses Lake has one UW School of Medicine graduate and one who served a medical fellowship in Washington.
---At the Wenatchee Valley Clinic in Moses Lake, nine doctors at UW medical grads; six did their residencies in Washington. The clinic also has four UW physician assistant graduates and nurses who received degrees from the WSU College of Nursing.
---Coulee Medical Center has two UW School of Medicine graduates and three doctors who served their residencies in Spokane. One nursing practitioner graduated from WSU's College of Nursing.
---Ephrata Medical Center has a nurse practitioner who graduated from the WSU College of Nursing.6
Moses Lake and Grand Coulee are sites for the WRITE program (WWAMI Integrated Rural Training Experience) for third-year students who want to learn more about rural medical practice. The students spend a few weeks in their first and second years practicing in their new community, then spend five months there in the third year. Moses Lake, Grand Coulee and Ephrata are also sites for medical students looking to practice their skills in a rural setting between their first and second years (Rural/Underserved Opportunities Program). There are no residency sites in Grant County.7
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. Moses Lake hosts some of the 48 professional preceptors who work with WSU pharmacy students at clinical sites throughout the Columbia Basin region.
Voices from Grant County: Scott Graham, CEO of Coulee Medical Center, says his hospital used to have more doctors and fewer mid-level providers (nurse practitioners, physician's assistants). "But the reality is, given the availability of physicians, that we're in a cycle where we have access to more" of the mid-level people. He says they are often more willing to work in rural areas where pay may be lower because they have less debt tied to their schooling. He says those providers say they find more opportunity and variety in their jobs. He says his hospital is trying to mine more local people to pursue health careers, particularly nurses, even offering tuition help for schooling. His chief of staff was born and raised in the area. Graham says the hospital already is active with medical education. It's a site for the WRITE program, for students wanting rural experience. It current has a third-year student. It's also part of the rural summer program for first years. Ultimately, he says the hospital would consider creating a formal residency program. For now, it's searching for a general surgeon and a family practice doctor and is interested in adding an orthopedist and maybe an internist.
Glenda Bishop is the medical staffing coordinator at Quincy Valley Medical Center. She says small rural hospitals like hers are often stepping stones for young doctors and she accepts that. "We get excited when we get young, well-trained energetic doctors, but the truth is we don't keep them for very long." She says the hospital hit the jackpot with its current chief of staff. He joined the hospital out of his residency 11-12 years ago and has set up roots in the community. He works regular part-time shifts at the hospital, but he's employed by a community clinic across town. She says for two years, the hospital has recruited for a medical director, a family practice doctor who is bilingual, "but we haven't even had a serious bite yet." For now, she is focused on getting a new facility, one she hopes will make it easier to attract new doctors.
WSU Research: Grant County is one of the focal points of the National Children's Study. It's the largest long-term study of children's health and development ever undertaken in the United States. WSU, the University of Washington and local agencies are recruiting Grant County families to track the health and development of children from before birth through their 21st birthday. The goal is to help researchers better understand the causes of major childhood diseases and disorders such as diabetes, asthma and autism.
Grant County unemployment rate (Apr. 2013): 8.7% (state average 7.0% seasonally adjusted, 6.5% not seasonally adjusted)8
Health care/social assistance employment in Grant County9: 1,878 (out of 37,400 jobs). It's the county's sixth-largest employer, providing about $15.8 million in payroll, about 5.2% of the county's total payroll.
Tripp Umbach estimate of annual impact of Spokane academic health sciences on Grant County (2009): 17 jobs, $3.2 million in economic impact, $254,000 in local taxes
Tripp Umbach projection of annual impact of Spokane academic health sciences on Grant County (2030): 140 jobs, $24.2 million, $1.69 million 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: 4
Legislative Districts: 12, 13
County Seat: Ephrata
Nursing assistant professor Julie Postma worked with the Quincy Community Health Center and WSU assistant professor of communication Jeff Peterson to produce a documentary that shows the difficult and dangerous housing conditions in the farmworker community in Grant County.