Rural Health Center Expansion and Recruitment Survey

Research centers:
Project completed:
March 2006

This collaborative project examined and described the current staffing needs of rural health centers (RHCs), ascertained the staffing, recruitment, and retention issues that rural health center CEOs regard as most critical; distinguished how issues differ between CEOs contemplating development of expansion sites versus those who are not; and described how these findings correlate with the literature and current national supply projections for the categories of health professions needed by the RHCs.

RHCs face major barriers in recruiting and retaining health professionals, yet there are no projections of key health professions' staffing needs for RHCs and proposed new RHCs. While RHCs report on staffing via the Uniform Data System, this does not include critical information on vacancies, recruitment and retention, and other important issues. The National Association of Community Health Centers administered a mail questionnaire to the CEOs of all RHCs that examines current vacancies, projected staffing needs, recruitment and retention issues, center site expansion plans, and CEO perception of policies that would facilitate recruitment and retention. The WWAMI Rural Health Research Center was involved in the analysis of these data, and a joint report with the South Carolina Rural Health Research Center will be produced. This project is a collaboration between the federal Office of Rural Health Policy, the Bureau of Primary Health Care, and the Bureau of Health Professions.