Rural communities are home to 30 percent of the American population, but just 12 percent of primary care physicians and 14 percent of hospitals. As a result, America’s rural residents are underserved in their healthcare needs.
Like their metropolitan-based peers, rural physicians face many challenges in maintaining a successful practice:
- Reduction in traditional reimbursements
- Looming reimbursements of 25 percent
- Growing population of boomers to serve
- Increased administrative costs
Where rural physicians differ with those in larger cities is:
The Rural Care administration has been actively trying to attract and retain physicians to the rural setting through:
- Loans and loan forgiveness
- Residency programs created specifically for the rural setting
- Specialized residency training and community building
However, these efforts are not enough to enable rural physicians to succeed. Rural physicians need a solution to help them succeed.
Competition From New Sources
In addition to the challenging economics of running a successful practice, rural physicians are facing increased competition for patient visits. Big box retailers and pharmacy chains — where physicians often send their patients to have prescriptions filled, are now trying to steal those patients away from their primary care physicians. Their registered nurse staffed clinics seek to be the source for many primary care needs, including treatment for colds and allergies and sports physicals.
Rural physicians need a solution to help them succeed.