State of Rural Health Provider Organizations and Health Professional Shortages

Research center:
Lead researcher:
Project completed:
December 2004
This study addresses the convergence of health profession shortages and financial limitations among rural hospitals and rural home health providers. Although some attention has been given to shortages of nurses and/or allied health professionals or to finances of these two providers, there is a gap in knowledge of the linkages between financial and shortage conditions. There are gaps, too, relating to combinations of these conditions to degree of rurality, other local conditions, and to strategies adopted to address these two conditions. In addition to secondary data collection, a survey of rural hospitals and home care providers from the four regions of the United States was conducted to determine the number of health care professionals employed and the number of unfilled positions. The survey is particularly interested in shortages in nursing and a broad range of other allied health provider professions. In addition, the project identified successful strategies or best practices implemented in rural areas to address the rural health care provider shortage in an environment of decreased revenues. These models will be shared through the Center's website as well as through other dissemination efforts. In addition to a final report, the research team plans to present findings at the National Rural Health Association Meeting and other professional meetings as well as submit articles to professional journals.

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