Community , Health

WHC seeking applicants for doctor, nurse practitioner positions

There are two health provider positions now open at the Wah-Zha-Zhi Health Center in Pawhuska, according to Osage Nation job listings as of Feb. 28.

Dr. Ron Shaw, CEO for the WHC, told the Nation’s Health Authority Board on Feb. 15 the two full-time provider vacancies are a licensed doctor who will serve as a clinic medical officer and a family nurse practitioner. Shaw also told the board the doctor vacancy will start following the recent resignation notice delivered by Dr. Amanda Bighorse whose last day will be March 9.

Bighorse informed Shaw that “she needed to be closer to family” (out of the area) and gave a one-month notice of resignation. “By the time she’s gone, all the charts will be caught up, all the notifications completed and she has the last day to complete any paperwork, turn in any equipment so it’s a clean break for her, we certainly wish her well,” Shaw said.

The two positions are listed among current job openings at https://www.osagenation-nsn.gov/opportunities/job-listings under “ON Government - Available Positions.”

“I’ll have to admit I’m kind of embarrassed that we’ve had two Osage physicians resign in the last six months, but you know what attracts a physician to a clinic is certainly more than your tribe, there’s got to be other ways it fits and it wasn’t the right fit for our two (Drs. Bighorse and Cameron Rumsey who left in December 2017).

In the meantime, Shaw noted “We’ve already got a family nurse practitioner advertisement that just went out yesterday” and said both positions will also be advertised on the Indian Health Service available jobs website and others including the Association of American Indian Physicians and Oklahoma State Medical Association.

Prior to Bighorse’s resignation announcement, Shaw (who is both CEO and current Chief Medical Officer) said he started working on restructuring the patient appointment times and “we’ve already seen an increase in the average patients seen per day. The purpose of which, we offer a four-day workweek (40-hours) and we need work performed to patients seen during that whole 40 hours as close as possible. It can’t be 32 hours, it needs to be 40 hours and I had no pushback from any of the physicians. I don’t think it had anything to do with Dr. Bighorse’s resignation … We’re trying to get as many patient visits and therefore revenue (from patient insurance billing) out of the providers (so) we have been trying to increase the number of appointment slots.”  

HAB member Nancy Keil asked Shaw if he would be seeing more patients with the two provider positions open and he said “yes,” which could include more part-time days scheduled per week where he’d see patients. Shaw also said another local seasoned physician whose services could be utilized at the clinic is Dr. Robert Chesbro.

Shaw said Rumsey worked one day in January on a contractual basis to perform certain procedures and that provider option would be available pending another approved contract. Clinic Manager Paula Stabler said Rumsey saw 11 out of 17 patients booked that day and added Rumsey’s services cut down on referring patients to outside providers for those services.

According to the job description for the clinic medical officer, the successful applicant “provides comprehensive health care on a daily basis and is expected to provide quality medical care to all patients. The incumbent works independently and on his/her own initiative as a Family Medicine/ Practice provider and supports the mission of the facility.”

For the family nurse practitioner position, the successful applicant “provides direct and comprehensive primary, preventive and therapeutic medical and nursing care across the patient life span (i.e., geriatric, adult, adolescent, pediatric and infant patients and their families) while taking into consideration socio-economic, epidemiological and cultural influences.”  

For more information on clinic services and appointments, the Wah-Zha-Zhi Health Center can be reached at (918) 287-9300 or visit its website at: www.osagenation-nsn.gov/what-we-do/wah-zha-zhi-health-center