Garfield County searches for new doctor for Pomeroy, who is leaving in July.
The Garfield County Hospital District is searching for a physician to replace the town of Pomeroy's only full-time doctor
Dr. Syed Zafar, the current doctor, and his family are moving to Atlanta to be closer to family. Zafar is the only full-time doctor in the town of about 1,400 residents. He serves as the medical director of the Pomeroy clinic and hospital, which are both operated by the hospital district.
The district has launched a nationwide search for a replacement. In the meantime, service will not be interrupted for Zafar's patients, said Andrew Craigie, hospital district chief executive officer.
"We are getting some nibbles," he said. "Our goal is to find someone who has a passion for a rural practice."
Craigie said the district will quiz applicants up front about lifestyle.
"If you like the hustle and bustle of a big city, this isn't the place for you. There's not a McDonald's on every other corner and you will have to drive to find a Wal-Mart that's open 24 hours a day," he said.
"On the other hand, if you appreciate the serendipity of friendliness and living in a storybook town, Pomeroy is for you," he said. "It's the kind of place where people know you and know your name and genuinely care about you. Now who wouldn't want that?"
Three national firms that operate on a contingency basis are assisting with the search, and the district is considering retaining a firm that could guarantee the job will be filled.
"It's a big investment," Craigie said. "We're looking at a minimum of about $20,000 for a successful placement. It's really difficult to do a search without these firms. Typically, physicians are not looking in the want ads."
Each candidate is carefully screened to make sure he or she would be a good fit for the job, which pays $112,000 to $150,000 a year, depending on experience.
The hospital district has 90 full- and part-time employees. It provides health care services at the hospital, nursing home and the Pomeroy Medical Clinic, serving about 3,000 patients.It's all about choices and trade-offs.
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