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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.

Promising Examples

funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy High Plains Community Health Center Care Teams
Updated/reviewed October 2015
  • Need: To meet demand for health care with a limited number of physicians, in a region where recruiting additional providers was impractical
  • Intervention: Implement care teams of 3 medical assistants to support each provider, with additional patient support through health coaches
  • Results: More patients seen per provider hour, with improved patient outcomes and clinic cost savings

Other Project Examples

SCDMH Emergency Department Telepsychiatry Consultation Program
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.
Mississippi Rural Health Fellowship Certification
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.
Credentialing Verification Service through Partners in Health Network
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.
funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy ASPIN Network: Community Health Worker Program
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
funded by the Health Resources Services Administration Alaska Health Workforce Coalition
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: 12/5/2017