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 January 2018
- 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
Added December 2017
- 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 partnered with the Duke Endowment to create the SCDMH Emergency Department Telepsychiatry Consultation 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 October 2017
- 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.
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.
Updated/reviewed June 2017
- 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 to address behavioral health integration, which included the use of dually trained community health workers (CHW) and certified health insurance enrollment navigators.
- Results: Creation of a certification process, the “Indiana Integrated Care Training Program: Community Health Worker/Certified Recovery Specialist,” for CHWs and cross-training of mental health peers to also work as CHWs
Updated/reviewed April 2017
- 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.
Last Updated: 1/10/2018