Hoelscher recruits physicians from throughout U.S.

HARLINGEN — Look what we have.

The climate is great, the people are friendly, and Valley Baptist Health System is a top-of-the-line institution.

Julie Hoelscher doesn’t have to spin the truth when she asks physicians to take a look at the Valley as a work opportunity. She gives it straight, from her own experience.

“I love it here,” said Hoelscher, director of physician services for VBHS. The Oklahoma native has lived in the Valley with her husband and family since 1992.

“It’s my kind of weather,” she said. “I’m definitely a hot weather person. I love being near the beach. I love Mexican food. I love the people down here, they are so incredibly friendly. The cost of living is extremely low.”

Hoelscher has spent the past 25 years bringing physicians to the Valley, a vital task for an area historically underserved in the medical community.

“I’ve had a lot of success in bringing new physicians in, but the area continues to grow so fast it’s hard to keep up,” she said. “I feel like if I can get them here to see what we have to offer, then they will like what they see.”

To get them to that point, however, she must deal with some misconceptions.

“They’ve been hearing about things like the violence in Mexico,” she said. “We’re so close to the border and that concerns people. Once they get here they see ‘Wow, this is a large hospital, there are a lot of physicians working here.’”

At that point Hoelscher’s job becomes much easier.

“My whole job revolves around community needs, so the hospital is able to recruit because there’s a community need,” said the mother of four sons.

How does she do it?

“I work with multiple sources,” she said. “I have a home office sourcing team.”

She and her team are in the process of recruiting a urologist.

“I was just creating a profile to try to educate candidates on the area, the hospital, the needs,” she said. “I send those profiles out to multiple different sources, one being my home office sourcing team. They in turn post my job profile on PracticeLink or JOBwordz and they kind of help me spread the knowledge.”

Prospective candidates, as is the practice, will then contact her sources, send their curriculum vitae and level of interest and she takes it from there.

“Other physicians on our staff many times will refer physicians to me to contact to try to convince them to relocate here,” she said.

Last year she and her team managed to recruit seven primary care physicians, for which there is a critical need.

“For primary care, the deficit in Harlingen just for family practice is 76,” she said. “In Brownsville it’s another 57. So that’s a huge deficit. So I’m very proud of the recruitment that we did for primary care.”

The physicians, some from as far as Puerto Rico and New York or as close as Edcouch-Elsa, are now employed by the Valley Baptist Physician Network.