Heroes of Healthcare
Heroes of Healthcare

Episode · 2 months ago

Healthcare's biggest struggle: Clinician shortage and how to overcome w/ Christy Ricks


Staffing shortages are plaguing industries across the country—especially healthcare.

Rising rates of burnout and early retirements are only complicating the issue.

As Assistant Vice President of Provider Recruitment at LifePoint Health, Christy Bray Ricks confronts this challenge everyday. 

In this episode, she shares some strategies to combat it. Plus, we talk about the underlying causes of this problem and the systemic changes that need to happen to address it. 

We discuss:

  • The scope of provider recruitment
  • Strategies to meet the growing demand for healthcare
  • What needs to change to fix the system
  • How to ensure continuity of care 

To hear this interview and more like it, subscribe to Heroes of Healthcare on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts.

Listening on a desktop & can’t see the links? Just search for Heroes of Healthcare in your favorite podcast player.

The key to success and healthcare will just be partnerships, partnerships with other organizations, even our vendor partners, and we are all in this together because there there is just a finite supply of caregivers in the country. You're listening to heroes of healthcare, the podcast that highlights bold, selfless professionals in the healthcare industry focused on transforming lives in their communities. Let's get into the show. Welcome to the heroes of healthcare podcast. I'm your host, Ted Wayne. On today's episode we're going to delve into something very prominent in the healthcare news recently, and that's the shortage of skilled clinician staff within our healthcare facilities. Skills such as Medtech, nursing, Pharma and physician. All these shortages are impacting the facilities and there's no solution in sight to help us better understand what's going on and what's ahead for this shortage. Joining me today is Christie Bray ricks. Christi is the a VP of provider recruitment and locoms for life point health, headquartered in Brentwood, Tennessee. Life Point Health provides quality healthcare close to home, with over eighty four hospital campuses in twenty nine states. Christie has extensive experience and healthcare industry, having served in both administration and technical roles. Christi is skilled in physician relations, team building and process improvement. Couple with her leadership capabilities. Christie currently serves as the CO chair of the AAPPR Vendor Relations Committee and hold several other committee leadership roles related to physician recruitment best practices. Christie greatly enjoys lending her perspective and her expertise to several physician recruitment organizations. Are Graduate in health and Sports Sciences from the University of Oklahoma. While employed as a student athletic trainer, Christie also completed her masters and Healthcare Administration and management from Colorado State University. We're excited to jump into this important topic, so let's get into the show. So welcome to the hero's healthcare podcast, Christy Bray Rix. Thanks for joining us. Thanks, Ted, glad to be here. Yeah, so we're going a lot to talk about today and really interested to hear about your views and what you're doing with life point and everything you're hearing in terms of physician workforce. You know, burnout and and sustainability and shortages and things like that, and I'm excited to get into that. But before we jump in, if you don't mind share with our listeners a little bit about yourself, where you come from, how you got into the world of healthcare and a little bit about your role with life point. Sure. So I was born and raised in Oklahoma and so very, very much a proud sooner. I spent most of my early years there. Left and went to a couple of places as my dad's job moved us around, but went back to University of Oklahoma for my undergraduate work and I served as a student athletic trainer for all of the The sports teams that you and so big job. That got a lot of a lot of high expectations there in Norman and you know, that was kind of my intro into healthcare, although my mom worked for an orthopedic surgeon when I was younger, so when I was in middle school I could go into the oar and watch him do surgery. So the you know, hit replacement surgery was pretty cool. So kind of thought I wanted to go into sports medicine or orthopedics and ultimately didn't and ended up, you know, staying in healthcare for the for the rest of my career, just in different aspects. So I have a small clinical background but definitely focused more on the operations in and administrative side of the support work we do to to assist our facilities. Great. So and and if you don't my mean I told a little bit in the Intro, would tell a little bit more about life point than you know the it sounds like, even just you know before we got on the recording. It's ever changing and evolving and you guys are just, you know, being very reactive in the market. Yeah, I think for healthcare, you know, the one constant is change and and life point is not immune to that. So last...

...year we announced an acquisition kindred healthcare out of Global Kentucky, and towards the end of the year that acquisition started to look a little bit differently. So we actually spun off some of our hospitals and took some of the pieces from kindred and created a new organization called PSI on health. So also based in Tennessee in Franklin and you know, continue to work closely as we assion gets up on their feet and develops as a new company, remaining life point we inherited some of the Rehab business from Kendred along with their behavioral health. So we are very early in this relationship and just continue to work closely with their teams and integrate the best that we can. Life Point health historically is has been one of the largest privately held healthcare companies in the country and, as most people know, a lot of that big healthcare for the country is based in Nashville or the Brentwood Tennessee area. Awesome. Thank you. So in your role with not life point, I know that you are over physician provider recruitment, not just physition but provider recruitment. Tell me what that a little bit entails and the scope of that and then we can start. Then will start kind of waiting into what some of the challenges are there too. Sure. So I've been with life point for over four years now and it really came to establish a centralized recruitment process for not only physicians but also for the advanced practice providers. We work closely with the hospital CEOS in our local stakeholders, but also with the leadership from our health support center and Brentwood. So identifying, you know, what we need strategically to grow or start new service lines. But also right now a lot of it is what do we need to replace? You know we do. We do continue to see, you know, high retirements and earlier retirements than what we've seen before. So a lot of what we're doing is working closely with the local markets to under stand what their needs are what they're looking to do in the future. The hardest part about recruitment for anything in this day and age is really just the supply. The demand is huge as a country, especially as the the baby boomer population continues to age and really really need more access to health care. We just continue to see that there is always been a shortage of physicians for the country and it just keeps magnifying as the years go on and we have that aging population. So my team, I lead a group of recruiters and sorcerers. I have a coordinator and these fabulous folks really support every hospital. They may not live in that community, most of them work remote as we do these days, but they are integral parts of that hospital and that physician practice to continue to grow and keep healthcare local in order to care for our communities great and so talked a little bit about the supply challenge and the aging populations. So what is your team do you know? How do how do you combat that? You we were just we were just joking and the conversation right before we started recording and we laughed and said, Oh, it should have we should have recorded that. But you know, we're not allowed to clone and even, like you said, if we clone them, we got to grown for thirty years and get them trained and everything. So talk to me about a little bit about how you and the team and the face in the different facilities and the and the sea suite are starting to strategize about this at you know, how do we combat this? We can't make more so what our systems going to do to be able to meet the demand or and and how are they? You know, how are you guys at life point talking about that? Yeah, I think in many of our communities, because we aren't necessarily in large cities, we are smaller local facilities, you know, maybe an hour or two hours away from what you would consider, you know, a larger access point for healthcare. I think, you know, the key will be partnerships in the future, how we can get, you know, some physicians maybe from those larger cities to come out and serve, especially for specialist that's where we see the largest gap, although, you know, primary care continues to be a main focus for our short a physician shortage.

You know that that the access to an eant or a GI or, you know, even equally important. But cardiology coverage. The practice I worked within Colorado, it was huge. We went to twenty plus outreach locations and those folks, those patients, wouldn't be alive today if they didn't have that outreach capacity from that larger group to go out and, you know, they had a passion to serve the smaller communities and it definitely saved lives. So I would say the biggest thing that we talked about a lot is, you know, what else can we do? Are there other support mechanisms, so, you know, meaning advanced practice providers. Is there a telehealth option? That's becoming more and more of the conversation. You obviously can't have tella obe deliver a baby and you can't have a Teleperson, you know, perform a bypass surgery on someone's heart. But to the extent that we can supplement services, you know, that's what we have to look at. We have to look at just about everything out there in order to to fill those gaps because, as you and I have talked about, you know, the the worst outcome is a patient dies because of acts, you know, lack of access to care. We've seen that in covid you know, as patients you know there were no beds at hospitals and people did die from heart attacks. That shouldn't happen in two thousand and twenty two with the care that we have and you know the technology advancements we have in healthcare. Yeah, I mean to think that assume you're seeing and the expansion of I guess I should ask it this way. The do you see then? It's going to require the expansion of duties for and P's, PA's CRNA's. Are we going to have to expand their ability to practice more broadly than maybe they're limited today in order to meet that need? Is that just going to have to we're just going to have to expand that? Yeah, I definitely think so, and I think the states that have already expanded that and have gotten in front of some of those licensure pieces and scope of practicice where they've been able to have them function at the top of their license, they are more successful in caring for more patient lives. I think that any time that we can teach somebody and and have them become an extender is helpful, because it takes a long time to become a physician. It's very expensive in this country and so it isn't a model that you can keep building upon at this point. I think you know, I joked about in in the olden days our family medicine folks and and there are still family practice doctors who go into the Indosuite and so they are doing colonoscopies and and getting those patients through. A lot of specialists have kind of closed that market and you know, they want to do all the scopes in your hospital. Oh Bees, they want to do all the deliveries. There are very, very good FM's that are surgically trained to do Obee, that can do their own C sections deliver thousands of babies with very good outcomes. So we have to look at it differently. I've even joked with some of our communities that for getting an Ode layer engologist, so finding an eant to come into that community. Sure they have, they would, you know, they would be successful in all of those pieces. But you know, is it possible that we could train and FM to do some tonsils and adnoids right, a little bit of surgery get them out, you know, things like that. So I do think either the graduate medical programs or other training facilities will have to think about it differently. Where we are we are allowing those folks to again operate at the top of their license. There are a lot of things that family medicine physicians can do that they like to do and to care for those folks in the absence of having a specialist there to assist them. Yeah, now I agree. I think family of a reason, a reason some physicians go into family medicine is due to the diversity right that they don't want to be locked into. Some people like doing just one thing and doing that over and over again. And I can be an orthopedic knee replacement special and that's all I do all the time and that's probably if I need...

...a knee replacement, who I want doing my knee replacement. But you know, family medicine doctors, to your point, like doing different things and so if we give them the right training in the right pieces, they can provide a broader range of services without bringing in all the specialist every time. I do think a piece of it is communication with your community. In some of our towns, you know, towns of twenty five thou something that in this that's that's considered very, you know, rule and very, very small town. But in a town like that you really have to understand and it's either up to the hospital leadership or, you know, working closely with the local community to understand this is what we have and this is who we are as a hospital. You know, if you need other things, here's some partnerships we've created in larger cities, you know, if it's Denver or, you know, Huntsville Alabama, or even in Nashville. We have some smaller facilities in Tennessee, you know, who are our partners and making the those referrals and being able to get those patients to a higher level of care. But oftentimes in the hospital setting we try and be too much for those people. We want to be able to do everything and you just you just don't have that. We don't have the supply of physicians, Number One, and then, you know, the volume to stay good and clinically competent at those things you know. To your point about the knee surgeon, that is exactly what you know you should look for as a patient. So so it's okay to develop the referral networks and have some of those pieces, but a lot of times it that that message doesn't get communicated and somebody goes to your hospital, they may have a bad outcome or you didn't have that service needed, and then it creates a negative image, you know, reputation. You know it's small towns. Those types of things spread and they're like, well, don't go to the hospital because they can't take care of you. So combating that is also you know, can also be be an issue. But if you come in front of that and communicate with your community to understand what that looks like, I think that the key to success and healthcare will just be partnerships, partnerships with other organizations, even our vendor partners, and we are all in this together because there there is just a finite supply of caregivers in the country. Yeah, and obviously if it's a knee replacement, I've got some time to be able to go to a partner facility and drive there and get my procedure done. But it's it's a situation on critical though, a stroke, a heart attack or things like that, and then those things have to be able to be able to be more local. So I guess the creating their urgent care type of requirements locally and pushing off some of the I guess knee replacement, it can be considered elective. You know, elective work to more regional partners as obviously makes sense and as a way to is a way to do that. So gives you the good, the right, the service you need locally and then the other things can be done on the peripheral. Right, so where do you see some of the challenges? You know, in terms of you know, you talked about obviously you know there ear retirements are happening and you know thus the pure supply of it. You know, we're seeing it in a lot of businesses. You know you talked about from fast food restaurants to the high end restaurants, to I've been traveling a little bit lately and I've just been seeing it with the airlines. I mean, I think the airlines are totally struggling with lack of capacity and lack of people. But what are some of the programs that you guys are doing on the or you feel not only life point but the industry in the business needs to do to keep these positions from retiring early maybe, or from burnout or, as we've discussed on this show prior and you and I talked about, you know, the unfortunately the sad increase of suicide rates within physicians and providers. So what are some of the things the industry can continue to do and you think needs to be done? Or maybe they're not doing that? Life Point sees it says we just got to fix this. Yeah, I think, you know, a lot of it comes with, you know, balance for their practice if they're purely, you know, in and outpatient setting, or...

...you know, if they're covering both the hospital and and they're outpatient clinic plus call at night. You know, the burden is very hard for our physicians and in our APPS because many times they're taking their taking call as well. You know, I think many organizations have moved to a for day work week for their positions. So, you know, it could be thirty two or thirty six hours of patient care. That the missing factor there is all the hours it takes to document that care, to do the work within their electronic health record is maddening for many of them, you know, ordering labs and following up and and so you know, the key component, I feel like, aside from access to care for the country, is really staffing. In some cases, you know, if you don't have the nurse, who is the person who keeps the doctor going all day to stay on time and get to see his twenty, thirty patients, whatever it might be, or you don't have the front desk staff that gets them checked in accurately, checks their insurance so it gets build properly. You know, there are many, many layers and and again, with with the staffing shortage we're seeing in the country, it's the very first touch, that first desk person, that's the face of your clinic. So you're looking for high talent, somebody who's engaging, who's compassionate, you know, who's able to problem solve for these patients that are coming in usually at the weakest moment. They don't come to the they don't come to the doctor's office when they're they're having a good day. There's usually something wrong and you know, unfortunately, that those folks at those front desk they haven't been paid. Well, they don't get a lot of benefit. You know, they're strapped to their chair for at least forty hours, you know. So maybe they get a they may give some a little lunch and maybe a fifteen minute break here and there, but those are high stressful jobs and they are are very initial touch point for patient care. You know, same within the hospital. Those are your admitting folks or or your ED staff as they're coming through the door. But I think we really have to just reevaluate and and and value those people and what they provide. We have seen that with life point where where we've had the closed clinics because we didn't have the staff. I we have the physician. The physician is there. They unfortunately they can't work alone. Sure they could take a blood pressure to but they have to have somebody to answer the phones and and get through the patient flow of their day, process the paperwork. Right. Yeah, like you said. Yeah, so I feel, like you know, staffing is is our main issue as a country right now for healthcare and for many industries, you know. And then after that, maybe then we could talk about changing some of the access models. But until we have enough people or a technology that can supplement the people, then there's not a lot we can do. I know recently I had some labs drawn. I won't say who because it's a national company and I don't want to promote them, but they're fantastic and it's awesome. They have a check in kiosk, and so you hit the button to start the screen and it says place your driver's license, and I placed my driver's license and I flip it over. It knows me, you know, it's all, it's all intelligence system and technology. So it says, Oh, this is you verify your information. Touch, touch, doch or make a change. Okay, now, put your insurance card down, flip it over. Okay, have a seat, they'll be with you shortly. They have my order on file and it doesn't. I'm not saying, you know that it always eliminates having that desk person, but that's a situation where you've got a technology that can assist a practice and and make that check in process very seamless for the patient and keep the flow going for the office that day. Yeah, I and even if it takes seventy percent, right, even if it's, you know, fifty percent, it takes a load off of that every personal walking in and person touching each point. I'd since so you brought that up because I've recently moved and I've recently moved to a rural area and our more rural area and, you know, coming out of the Atlanta market, where I've been for a long time, the healthcare system, and fortunately I'm I'm pretty healthy and so is my family and we don't go a lot, but I always feel like they're they're at capat there,...

...at beyond capacity, you know. So the check in, everything's difficult, getting the getting the prescription refilled and getting them to do in a timely mannered or answer the phone. Nobody want to say answer the phone. You know, the impersonal service is kind of gone out of it. But interestingly enough, now that I'm in this more kind of rural setting, it's like they have time to do it, which I don't know if that's good for the system. You know, are not good for the system. I you know, I'm sure there's a balance of being overloaded and there's a challenge and being underloaded. Right I don't have enough business or anything like that, but to your point, it just struck me because the woman been scheduling for some PT for my family and the woman at the desk at the PT thing is unbelievable. You know, it's like I saved my name the second time and we were like Oh fast friends and she calls me back and she's timely and she's you know, it's proactive and everything where here I felt like you kind of had to do here in Atlanta. I felt like you kind of had to do it for them, like if you didn't follow up on each step of the process, it just would would fall apart. Talk to me about what you see with that, with life point, because you guys are in those rural areas and and how do you manage the capacity? Yeah, I think you know, you might have slower days right a function of how many people live in your town. That that's kind of how you can determine how much access to care or you know when the clinic should be open and things like that. But you know, I think the harder part is is finding those the staff members that that want to be that way, that show up every day. You know, they jump out of bed in the morning excited to come do that work and support their community. It's harder and harder to find and you know, and and to, you know, train them and really, you know, keep them engaged in their work, support them, you know, through whatever incentive plans you have and things like that. So I think that's where it becomes harder and harder. is to is to find those good people. And I don't think it's just a small town thing or a big city thing, but, you know, it is. It is very hard to find. When you find those people, they are like gold. Many the clinics that I've worked in through the years, you know, a good medical assistant for that position. I always felt like they should give them a piece of their bonus every year, because that position is not successful, you know, in the ore or in the clinic, without that medical assistant really running their day. So those support staff just the more love that we can show them over and over and over is what it's going to take. And and to they wear many, many hats. They're multitasking on so many different things, so they're you know, definitely there's there's technology that can assist, but I do feel like it, you know, it's that human, human connection and really making them feel like a valuable part of the team. Yeah, I know you're right. I remember a friend of mine who's a teacher said you can have the best teacher in the worst school and the worst teacher in the best school. That you know. So it always comes down to that personal contact, right, and so the hospital we've been going to for the PT I need to remind them how good she is because you know, she's been very impressive. And and to your point earlier, I love that point you talked about, is, you know, the PR can be good or bad against a local clinic, right. So if they you don't get that great service or you don't get that right treatment or anything like that, the word gets out quick and then all sudden the clinic or the hospital has a as a PR problem. Right, people are saying don't go there, go someplace else or whatever, and so it is. It is. It's still comes down to, at the end of the day, that personal connection or that that personal interaction you have. And you're right, that frontline person is your what was the old commercial? You never have a second chance of making a first impression. Right, that's right. That's right. I think a lot of another piece of what you what you mentioned having having the person recognize you, know, you buy your name and continue to follow through versus your experience in Atlanta. A lot of my frustration with healthcare, and I've experienced this with my own family and friends, is they are you need an advocate, you need somebody who can navigate. We've made healthcare very,...

...very hard. I always say I told I told my I've told my children. I'm like, if you want to become a dentist, I am right there with you. Dentist, orthodonist, you know optometrists because they have the model figured out in terms of the insurance and you you know and you go in and and it isn't as convoluted and hard. If you've ever seen what a charge master book looks like in a hospital, you would just die. It's just incredible how difficult. You Know Hospital and the other sides of healthcare. You know outside of Dentistry and your eyes that the rest is just a mess, and so you know that. For me, is really hard when I see people that get caught in situations and healthcare still is the number one reason for filing bankruptcy in the country and that shouldn't that shouldn't be. We've just made it so dang hard and and the rest of the systems that follow. I would love to do to get to, you know, be that in my job, let you know, to be an advocate for people, and I have. I have actually done that when I've worked for for hospital administrators. You know, if somebody needed something, I could help them navigate the billing process or, you know, call this office or do it this way, and that's really unfortunate because it should not be that hard. As I mentioned before, these are people. They're not coming to you at the best of times. This is definitely the worst of times and we make it even more difficult. If you had an advocated for yourself in Atlanta and kept calling or making your appointments. Are, you know, following up on things? Exactly? Yeah, no, and I'd like to talk about that a little bit, although we might both be frustrated because they may not be good answer for it. But that you touched on the word. The reason I kind of reacted when you said the word advocate is because, you know, for my you know, most recently for myself with my father, who passed away in November, but the last, you know, the prior twelve months, that was the word I used, was I said, nobody is advocating for this guy and it what and I've asked this question on the show before and I always feel like I don't want to get I don't want anybody to get in trouble because they're calling out another part of the healthcare system or something. But you know the price I take. I would take them to the primary care and say, you know, here's the problem he's running into, and they would say, oh, go to the dermatologist or go to the end of chronologist or go to the you know, they didn't want to try to figure that out. It was immediately. Let me push the pride. This is how I felt, not saying this is what they were doing, but this is how I felt. They were pushing me and him off of them and saying go to the expert. And then we'd go to the expert and they would say, I don't know what that is, but I noticed you have like the dermatologist says, I don't mind you, my dad had, not to go too deep, but he had an itching chronic hitching problem. Couldn't sleep, he was frustrated, all that stuff, and dermatologist says, I don't know what's causing the hitching, but I see a couple of spots on your cheek. We should take off right. So there's a little bit right. So it's like immediately want to go to surgery, that sort of thing. We go to the end of chronologist. He says, I don't know what's causing the itching, but I think you're a one season, although I want to put you on trulicity, you know. And it was like, I mean, and not only I mean frustrated him, but it frustrated me and we just kind of felt like we were just keep going around in the circle. You just keep getting you felt like you're just getting past and I know diagnosis is the hardest part of medicine and everything like that, but there was nobody advocating for him. There's nobody saying this guy is suffering, he's not sleeping well, he's in his s, he's got it, having congestive heart failure. I mean all this guy and nobody was advocating was just pat it was just felt like it felt like past the buck a little bit. Yeah, and I do think again, the way the compensation in the payment model is has shifted for physicians and and other providers. You got to be quick about things in order to meet your numbers and your work RV US and be productive. And what suffered in that is the patient care. That time where you could sit and discuss issues and have that. Most of the time, the primary care folks can figure it out, you know, they have such a breadth of knowledge. If you give them the time...

...to do that, and it's not a fifteen minute patient consult it has to be, you know, time because really a fifteen minute patient console ends up being, you know, three and a half minutes at best by the time they get in there and you walk through your whole system's list again. I think that's where, you know, for me, position extenders and advanced practice providers. No offense to doctors, because that's who I that's who I'm in the business to hire, but they are given the wrong word, but they are given the luxury of a little bit more time. So you could go see a nurse practitioner who, you know, again, by our payment methods, we give her forty five minutes to treat versus the physician who we might you know, we might say no, you're on a fifteen minute schedule here. So I think that's where, again, the model is it's broken. The way it is I think that's been identified for a long time. But if you have the time to sit and focus, listen to your patients, really work hard or, as you said, that patient advocate to say no, we're not going to go do those other specialist is is there someone else we can see here or some you know, some other test or something to try and try and diagnose that? Yeah, no, you're right, because I loved the PA at the pulmonologist because she would come in and spend time and listen to him and talk to him and hear him and things like that. And and the pulmonologist who was highly regarded, highly, you know, recommended in the market, but he'd blow in and ten or fifteen minutes say you do this, do this, do this, order this other test and we'll see you back in ninety days or whatever and gone. And then she'd spend more time with you, you know, and that was it. And I mean I remember my dad leaving saying we just need to go see her. Why do we have to you know, why did we have to wait? Why do we have to wait another twenty minutes for him to come in, spend three minutes with us and go out? So is there I'm not aware of. But is there any can we slets spend a little time. Is there anything that you're hearing are how I hear you say we have to fix that. Is there anything being done to fix that? If it's that apparent? I'm sure I'm not the only one who feels this way. You obviously have had some of that same some of that. You're actually seem good and you seem bad. But what can be done and what is trying to be done where that's getting fixed? Or maybe it won't. I hope not. Yeah, I don't know. I mean I think it's it's at the federal level, in the state level. When you look at who who health systems and hospitals rely on for their payment, you know it's centers for Menare medicates. The payer right. So so the money, you follow the money and you go back to the payer and you just have to look if they want it to be fixed and set up a different model, because the way that we are incentivized, the way that we are paid, is highly reliant on being fast and you know the efficiencies with that. It isn't what we have in this country is not healthcare. We are not helping people get healthier. We are treating disease and, you know, over and over and over and just regurguate, you know, just regurgitating the same disease cycles. So so no, I think, you know, the issue is is huge. It's it's a federal issue. Again, it's a state issue if you look at Medicare funding and and then it's up to those healthcare organizations to decide if they want to do something different, to change the model. I've worked for some patient centered, you know, concierge type focus practices and really what that means in terms of the the time they spend with the patient. Their goal is, right, let's improve your a one see, let's improve your blood pressure, and they really focus on that. And it's not in a pill, it's not in you know, it's not in a shot that you have to take. It definitely, you know, it's in the lifestyle and the choices that folks make, you know, every day. I think some of it too, you know, related to just the cost, is, you know, regulating or figuring out a way for the pharmaceutical cost, you know, to be to change. I have a very good friend WHO's a type one diabetic and it breaks my heart when she struggles, even through her insurance, to get the supplies she needs. You know, there isn't a pancreas. She can't go get a pancreas put in. I hope some day,...

I really pray that they will have they're working on it, but I really hope that they can do that. But unfortunately, in medicine, the sicker people are, the more money those companies make, from Pharma to hospitals. We are not immune and so it it pays to keep people sick. Unfortunately, is how the model is set up right now. Yeah, I don't know what the mixes but I know I've heard the amount of money we spend to to cure versus prevent is way skewed right like we should be starting to pay, you know, incentivize rd for health prevention, you know, healthcare prevention or sick illness prevention versus curing the problem. Because, let's if it doesn't happen, we don't have to find a fix. If I can prevent diabetes, I don't know if to that I don't need to worry about getting insulin and getting those other things. So yeah, well, it's a it's a it's a continues to be a challenge and I appreciate the work you do and your team does, because you guys are in there fighting it out and trying to continue to we try to make it better and I think bringing light to it allows us to continue to try to make it better. So, as we're kind of coming around the back end of our time together, what are some of the other things that you're just passionate about right now with life point that you guys are trying to do? You're trying to affect within the marketplace and put on your future, your future hat. And you know, what do you see coming? That's going to be both, you know, positive, but also couldn't continue to be challenging in the healthcare world? Sure, so a large part of, you know, my position within life point is staffing. So focused on, you know, finding those physicians, either, you know, permanently, that are going to move and join our community or even on a temporary basis. So a lot of locomtenance staffing. And you know, we are at the greatest divide that I've ever seen as a country for, you know, just the supply and demand issue. So right now we, you know, we work closely with our GME programs so lifepoint does train quite a quite a few residents. I know that's been a huge focus for many companies is how do you grow your own so we are focused on that and providing, you know, some financial support and pieces like that, you know, to those students in those residents. I think equally, you know, any staff that we have to try and grow, if it's if it's nursing school programs or even, you know, technical schools, to to get some of Your Radiology and your lab text your your Ots, your pts. There is shortage everywhere. So so you know, however we can, we can overcome that, but you know, specific to providers and providers staffing again just, you know, rethinking the model and seeing where we can have people function at the top of their license, because there isn't a shelf, there's no magic shelf that I unfortunately, I can't go to the store and pick somebody off the shelf and and and that they want to live in that location where our hospitals located. So a lot of our conversations revolve around that. What how do we make the offer attractive? How do we make the location attractive? What services does the hospital have? Where can we grow, you know, to entice those folks to want to change their life, for their lifestyle and join us in some of our smaller communities across the country. I think even from the the temporary staffing side, is that is created a lot of opportunities for folks. They can choose when they want to work, they can choose where they want to work and and it's really almost anywhere in the country. And so it's just a very interesting time right now to see all of the options available for physicians and providers. CE RNAS are probably the most mobile right now. I've never seen that workforce have the advantage they have right now. But you know, the people want to make their own choice about where they live, about how much they work, and you know that that's where we are right now with with a lot of the healthcare staffing. So yeah, and for sure, and you see it. And I think there was a time when the perception of a locom versus a full time provider was considered to be a gap. I wasn't getting as good of a doctor, but we're seeing that is totally changing the credentialing privileging process at all...

...the hospitals for locom or a full time physician is the same, so they're going under the same level of scrutiny before they're able to see patients. So I think that that's good. The just in time or now where they called gig employed worker and all of that sort of stuff. How do you combat the continuity of care they're so that would be the peace to me. You know, I'll just go back to my most recent thing and the PT WHO's working with my wife is a thirteen week travel pt and she was telling us where she had been and where she was coming and we were and it sounded all great and in my mind I'm saying, okay, so we minute, in thirteen weeks I'm going to have to tell the next pt all over again, you know, or my wife is going to have to tell the pt all over again. You know, here's all. Here's my situation now. Obviously not. Hopefully there's notes being taken and there's things and and they do that. But has there ever been discussed, if you guys been in discussion about that, about that? How do we ensure that continuity of care? Yeah, I think that's you know, that's probably the biggest struggle with having a locums or some temporary staffing is, you know, you're always educating them again and patients do get frustrated. You know, I told the guy last week why, you know, why don't you have his notes? I think in some places what we have done is, you know, we have we have whole clinics that are staffed by locums providers. So not that our patients know that, but those people, we've been bedded them for a long time, a long term assignment in order to have that clinic function, and we market them as our own, as our own, you know, physicians and you know, come see this guy. He's part of you know, he is part of the hospital and that clinic. I think it really relies on people, people being able to share that information and those notes, have the documentation within the within the health record, that that folks can read. But I think sometimes too, you know, you have to have in order to have the access that patients require. You know, there has to be a little given, take and and for patients to understand that that we're all doing the best that we can. We're trying to get them the care and put you know, put our best foot forward with that. But but there are going to be gaps I think the gaps are going to get wider and wider as we go through the next several years. And, you know, just understanding that these healthcare providers are people too, and so, you know, equally we have to we have to have compassion and passion, you know, for each other so that they that they stay in the workforce and not leave and go do, you know, go different go do different work. I think the biggest part is is, unfortunately, I don't I don't see it getting better from a staffing perspective anytime soon. I hope it's within my lifetime, but I just don't know, because we have got to such a huge divide from a supply demand issue that it isn't something that we can just manufacture people. This is a people industry and we can we just can't do that. It's impossible and there isn't there isn't enough tech or the right tech that could replace those people either. Yeah, we shook be spoken that earlier, but and true, you know, it's not going to evolve faster. So we are in this situation for some time. This is not a short term challenge. That that we that we are going through, and so we are going to have to be more flexible in terms of how things do. You know, and in my role working with a locums company in currently we you know, the number of the feedback we get of life saving situations. Of You know, had we not had a locum here with that level of skill, I wouldn't be here today. I mean we hear stories, you know, weekly and monthly, about how that is. So I don't I don't disagree, but I just obviously see that is a change and I liked you. I loved your approach, which is, you know, there's going to have to be a little given take, because if you say, well, I don't want any locums, than anything than that, the answer might be well, and you have nobody here right because right now, because I right now, that's our only option. And you know, and these people are very highly skilled and they've just chosen a different way of of practicing right. And so I do like that and I do think it's just going to continue, like you said it. And the only thing in Li life that's that's...

...certain is change, right, and healthcare, than the healthcare industries, is not going to be continued to be any different. Well, I thank you so much for joining us. Today. I feel like we could. I got a lot more questions. We may have to ask you to come back because I love talking about this stuff and I think it's obviously an aspect of the thing and we appreciate the work you do in life points doing to bring the care to them, to the communities that needed so much. You know, as we wrap up the show we always ask our guests who are you? Who's your hero, and so I'd love to hear you're a little bit your story about, when you think back, who's somebody in your life that hits you as as your hero. You know, definitely. I'm glad you prepped me for this question, because I did it. I didn't I didn't need to think about it, but it is more of a I had to have to contain my emotions a little bit. But my grandmother on my Dad's side. So so my paternal grandma. Her name was Agnes Gray, and you know, she just she lived through a lot, through the dust bowl in Oklahoma. She had she had six children, her husband died fairly early, right, and to support yourselves in those days women really didn't work, but she did what she had to do and I think she'd be very proud of where we are today. Well, I I love that and you know it's so it's interesting how so many we asked this question, and you know we have. We've had over thirty different guests on the show so far, and I always say I think that you know the the parent or the grandparent is clear winner. You know there's no you know it's not the teacher. It's not that. You know, we hear that from sign time. But it's clearly the parent or the grandparent and I hear, I hear the emotion in your voice and I love that because obviously it there's a real connection there and I love that you shout her out and strong women are needed more desperately in this market and we love having them. Christy, again, thanks so much for your time, thanks for your service, thanks for your heart. I appreciate you spending some time with us and as busy as you are, and we will continue to stay connected and I'm sure we'll come back and we'll do this again soon. All right, thank you, Ted, I really appreciate it all right. Bye. Good bye. You've been listening to heroes of healthcare. For more, subscribe to the show in your favorite podcast player. Or visit us at heroes of healthcare podcastcom.

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