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A Tool for Improving the Recruitment and Retention of Critical Access Hospital and Community Health Center Physicians
Community factors play a key role in the recruitment and retention of physicians to rural and underserved healthcare settings. The Community Apgar Program (CAP) developed by researchers, educators and clinicians at Boise State University and the Family Medicine Residency of Idaho helps to organize these community factors for action.
The goals of the CAP are to:
- Identify individual community strengths and unique opportunities for improvement in Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) and Community Health Centers (CHCs) related to recruiting and retaining physicians.
- Understand state or regional patterns impacting physician supply which can be addressed at the macro level.
- Create a shared national database to facilitate broader understanding of important issues related to physician recruitment and retention to rural and underserved areas.
The CAP provides individualized information for specific CAH and CHC improvement strategies. The states of Idaho, Wyoming, North Dakota, Wisconsin and Alaska are currently participating in the CAH CAP while the states of Idaho and Maine are currently participating in the CHC CAP. In addition, several other states have shown interest in implementing this innovative community assessment tool (see map below for additional details on the CAP).
Center for Health Policy (CHP) researchers, Dr. David Schmitz, Dr. Ed Baker, Dr. Barb Dody, and Dr. Ted Epperly, had a research paper accepted to the World Organization of National Colleges, Academies and Academic Associations of General Practitioners/Family Physicians (WONCA) World Rural Conference. Dr. Schmitz will be presenting in Prague, Czech Republic in June, A Recruitment Tool for Rural Family Physicians: The Community Apgar Project.
In 2011, the University of North Dakota Center for Rural Health brought the Community Apgar Program (CAP) to North Dakota supported by a combination of state and federal funding from U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration, State Offices of Rural Health and Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility grant programs. Sixteen of the 36 critical access hospitals (CAHs) in North Dakota participated in the project. Each hospital was visited twice: first, to gain administrator and physician input on the 50 factors and again, to present the results to board members, administration, and physician staff. The information was sent to Dr. Baker and Dr. Schmitz for analysis. Read the entire article published at North Dakota Medicine.
The Community Apgar Questionnaire (CAQ) assesses a community’s capability to recruit and retain physicians. The CAQ consists of questions incorporated into five classes; each class contains 10 factors, for a total of 50 factors/questions representing specific elements related to recruitment and retention of physicians. The CAP utilizes the results compiled over a two year period to provide a real time assessment of a community’s ability to develop and execute action plans for improvement. For additional information listen to the Wyoming Public Radio Broadcast.