KCH hires recruiter

Kona Community Hospital has hired a new group to recruit hospitalists.

Hospital officials selected Sound Physicians, based in Seattle, after interviewing three companies, hospital Medical Director Dr. Kathleen Rokavec said Tuesday.

“We’re always struggling with keeping permanent physicians in general,” but retaining hospitalists, those doctors who are based out of the hospital, is definitely a challenge, she said. “Sound offers a lot of expertise. They come with a lot of structures and resources.”

Those resources have already been especially helpful when it comes to recruiting, Rokavec said, bringing in several new candidates for hospitalist positions. Kona Community Hospital has already hired two candidates, bringing the hospital’s staff from four full-time equivalent positions to six. Rokavec said the hospital is continuing to recruit for the position.

The hospital is also shifting how hospitalists are assigned. Currently, the hospital staffs two eight-hour daytime shifts, then has a hospitalist on call in the evenings. With the new staff coming in, the hospital will switch to two 12-hour daytime shifts, with one person working an evening shift.

“All new patients will get seen immediately,” Rokavec said. “It’s a big step the hospital is doing.”

According to an press release from Sound Physicians, the company will also bring changes to some internal hospital practices. The company offers “expertise in building high-performing hospital practices, including strong physician leadership, revenue cycle management and a track record of physician recruiting success.”

Rokavec said the hospital selected Sound Physicians through the state procurement process, using a panel that included three doctors to evaluate proposals. The contract begins May 29. Rokavec declined to provide the cost of the contract.