Healthcare Provider Recruitment in Rural Areas

By Hillary Eames
Monday, January 6, 2020

In rural America, physicians are in high demand and short supply. Hospitals are using a multitude of creative methods to recruit them.

Since 2005, 161 hospitals have been closed in rural America, according to the Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research. What’s more, a study sponsored by the National Rural Hospital Association estimates 673 facilities are vulnerable to closing. Shortages of physicians and other healthcare professionals contribute to closures, leaving populations in rural areas without lifesaving care. As a result, health systems are using several different methods to encourage physicians to practice in rural hospitals and medical centers.

Recruitment Methods

A hospital in central Idaho focused on recruiting semi-retired physicians willing to work part-time, while a hospital in Lakin, Kansas, helps new physicians house-hunt and manage renovations. The hospital also provides babysitting services to physicians, as there are no nanny services in town. Similarly, a hospital CEO in Clark County, Kansas, focused on niche physicians who may be drawn to rural practice, such as those involved in missionary or community work. In both cases, recruiters focused on the ability to contribute to the community in a significant, meaningful way.