State Variations in the Rural Obstetric Workforce


The overall frequency and the increasing rate of obstetric units closures in rural hospitals raises concerns about access to obstetric care among rural women, who experience poorer health outcomes than their urban counterparts. Rural hospitals face obstetric unit staffing challenges due to day-to-day variability in the census of obstetric patients, and as well as challenges with retention, recruitment, training, and scheduling of obstetric clinicians. Many types of staff are necessary to successfully run an obstetrics unit. Across both urban and rural settings, there is regional variation in the types of clinicians attending deliveries.

This policy brief describes the obstetric workforce in rural hospitals by state for nine states: Colorado (CO), Iowa (IA), Kentucky (KY), New York (NY), North Carolina (NC), Oregon (OR), Vermont (VT), Washington (WA), and Wisconsin (WI).

University of Minnesota Rural Health Research Center
Peiyin Hung, Katy Kozhimannil, Michelle Casey, Carrie Henning-Smith, Shailendra Prasad