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Recruitment and Retention for Rural Health Facilities – 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.

Other Project Examples

Avera LIGHT
Updated/reviewed January 2020
  • Need: Assistance for urban and rural physicians — as well as other healthcare providers — who are experiencing burnout and other issues associated with well-being.
  • Intervention: As part of its provider well-being focus in its rural and urban facilities, Avera Health system has created a program which attends to physician wellness issues starting with recruitment with continued support through retirement.
  • Results: With increasing engagement due to word of mouth, the program creates a culture of wellness where stigma is decreased and providers are encouraged to be proactive in reaching out for assistance for issues related to their personal and professional well-being.
Rural Recruitment Reimagined Workshop Presents the "Safe Sites" Model
Added January 2020
  • Need: Strategies to recruit and retain providers to practice in rural settings.
  • Intervention: A traveling one-day workshop was designed to share ideas and firsthand accounts on successful strategies on how to create "Safe Sites" for new recruits.
  • Results: So far, workshops have trained over 185 hospital administrators, board members, and rural hospital recruiters.
Kearny County Hospital's Physician Recruitment Model
Updated/reviewed October 2019
  • Need: Physicians to serve in an increasingly diverse population in rural Kansas.
  • Intervention: Kearny County Hospital changed their recruitment model to include paid time off for doctors and midlevel providers to serve as international service workers, as well as medical school loan forgiveness.
  • Results: Kearny County Hospital has re-opened their services to out-of-county patients and are receiving an increase in applications from medical providers.
Prairie Lakes Healthcare System Physician Recruitment Model
Updated/reviewed January 2019
  • Need: Localized specialty and surgery services for residents in rural northeastern South Dakota and western Minnesota.
  • Intervention: Prairie Lakes Healthcare System expanded their services by recruiting specialty physicians and networking with regional community hospitals to increase patient referrals.
  • Results: Patients receive surgery and specialized care closer to home through Prairie Lakes' 26 specialty medical providers and more than 20 specialty services.
Hawai'i Island Family Medicine Residency
Updated/reviewed December 2018
  • Need: Hawaii is experiencing a huge shortage of family medicine physicians.
  • Intervention: The Hawai'i Island Family Medicine Residency (HIFMR) program uses an interprofessional team-based approach so residents learn how to care for many types of patients in different healthcare settings.
  • Results: In 2017, the first class of residents graduated from a fully accredited program as Board-certified Family Medicine physicians. There were over 1,000 applicants to the residency program, and the residency increased its complement from 4 to 6 residents per year.
funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Tennessee Center for Health Workforce Development
Updated/reviewed April 2018
  • Need: To address the increasing need for healthcare providers in the rural and underserved areas of Tennessee.
  • Intervention: The Tennessee Rural Partnership was created to assist in the recruitment, placement, and retention of physicians and healthcare professionals.
  • Results: As of 2016, more than 120 primary care providers have been placed in 70 rural Tennessee communities. In 2018, the entity's name changed to "Tennessee Center for Health Workforce Development."
funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Great Basin College Emergency Medical Services Program
Updated/reviewed December 2017
  • Need: Recognizing the need to increase emergency response times, rural Nevada struggled to recruit and retain EMTs, AEMTs, and Paramedics.
  • Intervention: Great Basin College created the EMS program to recruit and train new EMTs and paramedics.
  • Results: The program has now trained hundreds of state-certified EMTs and AEMTs in rural Nevada.

Last Updated: 1/24/2020