The Center for Health Policy continues to assist states with the Community Apgar Program (CAP), which is a tool to improve the recruitment and retention of critical access hospitals 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 CAP, developed by researchers, educators and clinicians at Boise State University and physicians at the Family Medicine Residency of Idaho, helps to organize these community factors for action.
David Schmitz, affiliate faculty and senior researcher at the Center for Health Policy and associate director of rural family medicine at the Family Medicine Residency of Idaho, and Ed Baker, director of and senior researcher at the Center for Health Policy and professor in the Department of Community and Environmental Health, presented “Bringing the CAH Community Apgar Project to Montana” to the Montana Hospital Association Health Summit, in Bozeman, Mont. in Feb. They also presented “Idaho rural physician workforce: A five year perspective” with Lisa MacKenzie, research associate and grant and project coordinator for the Center for Health Policy, at Northwest Regional Rural Health Conference, held in Spokane, Wash. in March.
Baker and Schmitz have also recently signed four externally-funded contracts to use the CAP in four different states. Montana North Central Area Health Education Center is contracting Baker and Schmitz for “Montana Critical Access Hospital Community Apgar Program.” The Center for Rural Health at the University of North Dakota, School of Medicine and Health Sciences is contracting the team for “North Dakota Critical Access Hospital Community Apgar Program Phase II.” Indiana State Department of Health – Office of Primary Care and Rural Health is contracting Baker and Schmitz for “Indiana Critical Access Hospital Community Apgar Program.” Finally, Utah Department of Health – Office of Primary Care and Rural Health is contracting the team for “Utah Critical Access Hospital Community Apgar Program.”
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, Alaska, Indiana, Utah and Montana are currently participating in the CAH CAP while the states of Idaho and Maine are currently participating in the CHC CAP.