The U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) has awarded nearly $11 million to 15 organizations to establish new physician residency programs in rural communities.
Nearly 70 percent of areas designated as primary medical Health Professional Shortage Areas are in rural areas. Physician shortages, poverty, and geographic isolation contribute to lack of access to care and poorer health outcomes for rural Americans. More than half of rural U.S. counties lack hospital obstetric services. In response to the declining access to rural maternal health care, three of the 15 awards will be used specifically to develop new family medicine residency programs with enhanced obstetrical training in rural communities.
“Through HRSA’s decades of work supporting access to health care in rural communities, we know that rural residency programs help ensure that qualified doctors train and stay in the rural communities that need them,” said HRSA Administrator Carole Johnson, in a statement. “This funding will help build the pipeline of doctors who have experience with the unique needs and challenges of working in rural areas, particularly rural women who face increased barriers to high-quality maternal health care before, during, and after pregnancy.”
Award recipients will each receive up to $750,000 to establish new rural residency programs. This funding may be used to support accreditation costs, curriculum development, faculty recruitment and retention, resident recruitment activities, and consultation services to support program development (e.g., financing). Throughout the duration of their grant, award recipients will have access to one-on-one advisor support, tools, and resources provided by the HRSA funded Rural Residency Planning and Development Technical Assistance Center to navigate the various stages of program development.
These awards build on over $43 million that HRSA invested in the Rural Residency Planning and Development program from fiscal year 2019 through 2022.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has been taking other steps to focus on equity and access to care in awards tied to Medicare-funded residency slots. In allocating these new residency slots, CMS prioritized hospitals with training programs in geographic areas demonstrating the greatest need for additional providers, as determined by Health Professional Shortage Areas. CMS is also working to implement the new residency slots for psychiatry positions in fiscal year 2025 that Congress established in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023.
Here are the programs receiving funding in this round:
• Cahaba Medical Care, Centreville, AL
• University of Arizona, Tucson
• Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, CA
• University of Hawaii Systems, Honolulu, HI
• Franklin Parish Hospital Service District No. 1, Winnsboro, LA
• Maine General Medical Center, Augusta, ME
• Fairview Health Services, Minneapolis, MN
• Hannibal Regional Healthcare System, Inc., Hannibal, MO
• New York Institute of Technology, Old Westbury, NY
• University of Rochester, Rochester, NY
• Geisinger Clinic, Danville, PA
• Tiber Health, Public Benefit Corporation, Ponce, Puerto Rico
• University of Tennessee, Memphis, TN
• University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX
• Marshall Community Health Consortium Huntington, WV