ROUNDUP — Roundup Memorial Hospital has been trying — with no success — to recruit two full-time general practitioners to augment the medical staff at its 25-bed critical access hospital.

The recruitment process for one of the positions began at least a year ago. Efforts to attract someone for a second position began in June, said Chief Financial Officer Gary Bostrom.

“There aren’t a lot of general practitioners out there and their availability seems to get less and less,” Bostrom said.

The cash-poor hospital has financial issues, which might hinder the recruitment process, but further complicating efforts is a growing physician shortage. The American College of Physicians, the nation’s top group of doctors, estimates there will be a shortage of up to 44,000 primary care physicians for adults by 2025.

Bostrom is confident that Roundup Memorial’s new Management Services Agreement with Billings Clinic will lend some much-needed muscle to the recruitment process to offer health-care services for Roundup and the surrounding region. Roundup entered into the agreement with Billings Clinic after severing ties with Brim Healthcare, a Tennessee-based hospital management company.

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“Billings Clinic has name recognition that lends credibility to the recruitment process and it helps build confidence in the community,” Bostrom said.

Roundup Memorial has a full-time physician assistant and a nurse practitioner. It also has on staff two part-time physician assistants and a part-time physician, Bostrom said.

“The process of recruiting physicians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants is an ongoing effort to increase access to quality health care for the people living in the small rural communities of our region,” said Kyle Gee, vice president, regional chief financial officer for Billings Clinic.

Billings Clinic is also helping the hospital in its search for a new CEO at the hospital to replace Bostrom, who stepped down Jan. 3. He was working as both chief executive officer and chief financial officer for nearly two years. He will remain as CFO.

Contact Cindy Uken at cuken@billingsgazette.com or 657-1287.

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Contact Cindy Uken at cuken@billingsgazette.com or 657-1287.