Rural Healthcare Workforce Models and Innovations
These stories feature model programs and successful rural projects that can serve as a source of ideas and provide lessons others have learned. Some of the projects or programs may no longer be active. Read about the criteria and evidence-base for programs included.
Updated/reviewed February 2019
- Need: Meeting health care demands in a region with a limited number of physicians, where recruiting additional providers is considered impractical.
- Intervention: Using the additional support of health coaches, implementation of care teams consisting of 3 medical assistants to support each provider.
- Results: More patients seen per provider hour, with improved patient outcomes and clinic cost savings.
Other Project Examples
Updated/reviewed December 2018
- Need: A way to recognize Mississippi healthcare professionals and medical students for their rural-specific experience and expertise.
- Intervention: The Mississippi Rural Health Association created 2 certifications that recognize rural health experience and also foster a greater understanding of rural-specific policies, regulations, and needs in the healthcare field.
- Results: Fellowship recipients receive statewide recognition for the time and dedication they have put into improving rural health in Mississippi.
Added December 2018
- Need: Healthcare professionals and support staff are in high demand on tribal reservations in the Great Plains region.
- Intervention: The Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Health Board of South Dakota offer healthcare occupation courses for industry-recognized healthcare certifications and post-secondary degrees through the Health Profession Opportunity Grants program.
- Results: Since the program's start, 241 participants have completed a healthcare training program, and 109 have found employment in healthcare occupations. Both participants and healthcare providers have expressed the value in local and cultural training for these healthcare professions.
Updated/reviewed December 2018
- Need: The shortage of mental health professionals in rural South Carolina resulted in an influx of patients admitted to emergency departments who were in need of psychiatric care.
- Intervention: South Carolina Department of Mental Health (SCDMH) partnered with The Duke Endowment to create the SCDMH Emergency Department Telepsychiatry Program. Rural emergency departments can now reach a psychiatrist to assess a patient via telehealth.
- Results: The Program has improved access, affordability, and provided quality care for rural providers and patients with mental illness.
Added July 2018
- Need: To reduce the shortage of behavioral health professionals in rural Nebraska.
- Intervention: A week-long camp teaches high school students in rural and tribal communities about different career options in behavioral health and provides mentorship after the camp ends.
- Results: In 2018, 8 students attended the camp full-time, along with 4 alumni who participated part-time. Fifteen students attended the camps in 2017. Many camp participants talk about their positive experiences with younger students.
Added July 2018
- Need: To help veterans transition into civilian healthcare careers.
- Intervention: MMAC and healthcare employers in urban and rural Virginia provide employment and education opportunities to veterans seeking civilian medical credentials.
- Results: MMAC has accepted 120 applicants into the program, 80 of whom have already found employment via the MMAC program.
Updated/reviewed June 2018
- Need: Improved approach in addressing the behavioral health and primary care disparities of Indiana’s underserved rural counties by increasing access through health insurance enrollment and providing health literacy education.
- Intervention: A network was established that dually trained community health workers (CHW) and certified health insurance enrollment navigators to aid in behavioral health and primary care services.
- Results: This year, ASPIN trained 49 CHWs, cross-trained 191 behavioral health case managers as CHWs, and 175 individuals in the Indiana Navigator Precertification Education.
Added May 2018
- Need: To support rural veterans pursuing a career in nursing.
- Intervention: The INVITE program improved the curriculum and reworked admission requirements to better support veteran students' experiences in the College of St. Scholastica undergraduate nursing program.
- Results: The number of veterans pursuing nursing has more than doubled since program implementation, and all students have reported an increased interest in serving rural communities.
Updated/reviewed April 2018
- Need: To ensure a well-qualified and sustainable Alaskan workforce to meet the current and future health care needs of its residents.
- Intervention: Establishment of the Alaska Health Workforce Coalition (AHWC), a public-private partnership created to develop, facilitate, implement, and support a statewide health workforce system.
- Results: Coalition efforts impacted multiple state policies and programs, including a loan repayment and incentives program, completion of a health vacancy study, and the development and expansion of health-related education programs.
Updated/reviewed August 2017
- Need: Streamlined credentialing process for providers working in central and southern West Virginia’s multiple rural healthcare facilities.
- Intervention: Creation of a shared, specialized network using a standardized approach to credentialing healthcare providers.
- Results: A streamlined, centralized approach to the multi-step credentialing process eliminated duplicative services and increased credentialing efficiencies for staff.
Last Updated: 2/19/2019