Shortages of Medical Personnel at Community Health Centers: Implications for Planned Expansion

This study sought to examine the status of workforce shortages that may limit CHC expansion. The study used a survey questionnaire of all 846 federally funded US CHCs that directly provide clinical services and are within the 50 states and the District of Columbia, conducted between May and September 2004. Researchers measured staffing patterns and vacancies for major clinical disciplines by rural and urban location, use of federal and state recruitment programs, and perceived barriers to recruitment. Rural CHCs had a higher proportion of vacancies and longer-term vacancies and reported greater difficulty filling positions compared with urban CHCs. Physician recruitment in CHCs was heavily dependent on National Health Service Corps scholarships, loan repayment programs, and international medical graduates with J-1 visa waivers. Major perceived barriers to recruitment included low salaries and, in rural CHCs, cultural isolation, poor-quality schools and housing, and lack of spousal job opportunities.

Shortages of Medical Personnel at Community Health Centers: Implications for Planned Expansion

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