Vulnerable patient populations, including the poor, uninsured and those with multiple chronic conditions, have complex health needs exacerbated by social determinants such as food insecurity, unstable housing and lack of transportation.
Recruitment and retention of health care professionals is an ongoing challenge and expense for rural hospitals.
More than 60% of the health professional shortage areas (HPSAs) are located in rural or partially rural areas. Targeted programs that help address workforce shortages in rural communities should be supported and expanded, including increased funding for loan repayment for physicians practicing in rural HPSAs. Workforce policies and programs also should encourage nurses and other allied professionals to practice at the top of their license.