Opportunity to recruit and retain providers to your community

May 12, 2016

To:                    Rural Hospital Administrators, Chief Financial Officers, Public Policy Advisory Group

From:               Brenda Parnell, MBA, Acting Policy & Rural Health Director

Staff Contact:  Brenda Parnell, brendap@wsha.org or (206) 577-1832

Subject:            Opportunity to recruit and retain providers to your community

The purpose of this bulletin is to remind rural organizations with clinics to apply to become a National Health Shortage Community (NHSC) approved site. It does take time to gather the application materials for the submission deadline of June 7, 2016.

Being a NHSC- designated site assists with recruiting and retention of qualified primary care, mental health and dental providers. Providers who search the NHSC job center will see your open position and HPSA score resulting in potential candidates.

WSHA believes this is a useful opportunity to help meet the primary care, mental health, and dental health provider needs in your community.

The local NHSC Manager, Renee Fullerton (contact information noted below) is available to assist with the application process. She is willing to pre-review your application prior to submission deadline of June 7. Having her pre-review your application will help your application process be successful.  Facilities can apply for all three provider types (primary care, mental health) funding opportunities; however, a separate application is required for each provider type. Except for a few provider specific questions in the application, the application is generally the same for each provider type.

Becoming a NHSC-designated site is a resource to recruiting primary care, mental health, and dental providers to your community depending upon your Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA) score.

The Healthier WA-Transformation Waiver is being built around integration of primary care and mental health by 2020. Completing the application(s) and potentially being awarded funding for the provider gives your facility another resource to find and hire health care professionals in primary care, mental health, and dental service delivery.

The higher the disparity in your community, the higher the HPSA score with a higher probability of award funding. A HPSA score can range from 0 to 26 with the higher score indicating greater need. In 2015, facilities with a score of 16 or higher received award for funding NHSC professional placement. This year, there are additional federal appropriations for the award placement of primary care, mental health, and dental providers in NHSC designated sites. Therefore, this should have a positive effect for those sites with a HPSA score of less than 16.  This could be important now with the need for more mental health providers to help address needs and the state’s push for integration of behavioral and physical health.

Each provider type (primary care, mental health, and dental) may have a different HPSA score. In other words, a facility in the same community could have a HPSA score of 18 for primary care and a HPSA score of 23 for mental health. Last year, 50% of awards went to mental providers.

Of interest, all applications (primary care, mental health, and dental) are pooled in the review process.  Using the example above, your facility is more likely to get funding for a mental health provider (with a score of 23) than for a primary care provider (with a score of 18) when all the applications are reviewed in early fall.

References & Contact Information
Renee Fullerton, Washington State NHSC Site Application Manager, Renee.Fullerton@DOH.WA.GOV,  Office of Community Health Systems/Rural Health, Washington State Department of Health, PO Box 47853, Olympia, WA 98504. Phone: 360-236-2814, Fax: 360-236-2830

Washington State Department of Health: Rural Health & Critical Access Hospitals

National Health Service Corp. 2016 Site Reference Guide

National Health Service Corp: Health and Human Services (HHS) Region and Office Map


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