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'Country Doctor of the Year' Embraces Challenges of Rural Medicine

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, December 4, 2013

The 2013 Country Doctor of the Year winner is right out of central casting for the Hallmark Channel.

Robert Bosl, MD, a decorated combat medic during the Vietnam War, has for the past 33 years served about 2,500 patients around the town of Starbuck, MN, which he describes as a real-life Lake Wobegon. According to Staff Care, Bosl, 66, a family physician, gets up at 5 a.m. every day to round his patients at Stevens Community Medical Center 20 miles away. He is usually on call seven days a week, 24 hours a day and provides a range of care, from obstetrics to geriatrics, making house calls during winters in a car with over 200,000 miles.

When the Starbuck hospital shuttered in 2005, Bosl took out a personal loan on his house and invested his life savings to build a modern clinic so that Starbuck's citizens would continue to have local care.

Did you get that? It bears repeating. When the hospital closed, he built a clinic to provide care for Starbuck's citizens, many of whom are elderly and on Medicare.

"I am kind of a dinosaur. I am not a saint but I might be something of a martyr," he says with a chuckle. "I was on call over the Thanksgiving weekend. I delivered a baby. I did a D&C. I did a colonoscopy. I did an appendectomy. I saw all sorts of extra patients just by being on call. It is something that all needed to get done. After the weekend you take a deep breath and say, 'Oomph! There must have been a full moon out.' But you just go on and it's one patient at a time, and whatever needs to get done gets done."

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1 comments on "'Country Doctor of the Year' Embraces Challenges of Rural Medicine"


Ron Pion MD (12/5/2013 at 12:06 PM)
Utilizing Zoom.us could remove many of the scheduled visits to the office and hospital. Insurance companies and government are moving in that direction. Skilled nurse practitioners can ease the MDs work load.