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White Paper: Keys To Effective Rural Physician Recruiting


Posted by Anonymous at 11/15/2017 1:24:49 PM

Rural Physician Recruiting Challenges and Solutions


White Paper: Keys To Effective Rural Physician Recruiting

 By Phillip Miller

A recent article in the online publication RevCycleIntelligence notes that since 2010 there have been 82 rural hospital closures in the U.S., while many more rural hospitals are on shaky financial ground. In 2016, 41 percent of rural hospitals operated with negative margins.


A major challenge facing rural hospitals is the characteristics of the patients they typically serve. According to RevCycleIntelligence, “rural hospitals overwhelmingly treat more patients who are 65 years old, more veterans and larger numbers of diabetics than their non-rural peers. Their patients are also significantly more likely to experience childhood poverty, premature death, and increased childhood mortality rates. With fewer employed residents, employer-sponsored health plans account for a smaller portion of rural hospital payer mix, and uninsured patients unable to afford health insurance coverage are common.”


Adding to these challenges is the physician shortage, which is particularly acute in rural communities. While 20 percent of Americans live in rural areas only nine percent of physicians practice “out in the country.” In Merritt Hawkins’ 2017 Survey of Final-Year Medical Residents, only one percent of residents in their final year of training expressed a preference for communities of 10,000 people or fewer, while only three percent expressed a preference for communities of 25,000 people or fewer.


Merritt Hawkins has been partnering with rural hospitals, Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) and other rural healthcare facilities for 30 years. Based on this experience we have developed a white paper entitled Rural Physician Recruiting: Challenges and Solutions.


The white paper begins with the premise that rural facilities can offer a style of practice that many physicians still seek, featuring both clinical and operational autonomy and the emotional rewards that attract physicians to the medical field. It also outlines how rural facilities can use the factors they can control, such as financials, style of practice, and a sense of urgency, to their benefit when recruiting doctors.


I would be happy to provide readers with a copy of the white paper and would welcome any comments or questions regarding rural physician recruiting challenges and solutions.




Phillip Miller is Vice President of Communication for Merritt Hawkins and Staff Care, companies of AMN Healthcare. He can be reached here.


If you are interested in learning more about our advanced practice and physician staffing services, request an appointment with one of our experienced consultants.



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