South Peninsula Hospital and Homer Medical Center welcomes new medical staff
Homer welcomes an influx of new staff amid physician resignations in Central Kenai Peninsula. Ryan Smith, CEO of South Peninsula Hospital in Homer announced several new physicians and nurse practitioners joined the hospital staff at the Kenai Peninsula borough assembly meeting on Monday of last week.
During the hospital’s quarterly report at the meeting, Smith announced the hospital and Homer Medical Center hired four new physicians, with three additional physicians who signed letters of intent to begin work in 2025.
In addition to the doctors, recruitment efforts also brought in more registered nurses and lowered the number of traveling nurses in the hospital to fewer than 20.
The hospital’s certified nursing assistant training program that began this year brought in four new CNAs.
These hiring successes come as the Central Kenai Peninsula loses more than half a dozen doctors and medical providers.
According to Derotha Ferraro, spokesperson for the hospital, the quality of life in Homer and flexible schedule draws in potential employees.
“The one thing that is really important in our recruiting is that we want to give any hire,” Ferraro said, “Whether they're a provider, or other staff, we want to give them the time to enjoy living here.”
Dr. Hans Amen is a new family physician for Homer Medical Center, a clinic attached to the hospital. He used to work in aerospace medicine for the US Air Force. After leaving the Air Force, Amen prioritized his children’s wellbeing in finding a new place to work.
Homer stood out to him as being a great place to work and raise a family.
“When I compared it to other places I've been, people were happy with their jobs,” he said, “They were happy to come to work. They were enthusiastic to be caring for other people, which, you know, what a breath of fresh air when you're in a medical community. That's exactly where you want to be.”
Dr. Regina Lancaster also joined the clinic as a family physician, with Dr. Pam Williams joining the hospital as an OB-GYN and Dr. Chris Kowalski joining the specialty clinic as an ear, nose, and throat doctor.
However, there is still room to grow. Ferraro said the hospital is working to expand its physical therapy team to meet community needs.
“One of the things that we've learned from our recent Community Health Needs Assessment is the extraordinary percentage of our population being in the senior age group,” she said, “And with that comes sometimes more health procedures, surgeries, that type of thing that then end up in physical therapy, post treatment.”
The physical therapy team currently employs eight physical therapists, two speech pathologists and several physical therapy assistants, with plans to recruit more.