Pennsylvania Improves Health Care for its Large Rural Population

Practice Sights: State Primary Care Development Strategies

Pennsylvania's Practice Sights program was part of a comprehensive state strategy to improve access to health care. Its goals included improving recruitment and retention efforts, encouraging greater use of mid-level providers, and establishing new practice sites in underserved areas.

The state provided start-up funding and onsite technical assistance for potential practice sites in both urban and rural underserved areas. It awarded 27 grants to start practice sites in underserved areas, and both these grants and the state loan repayment program emphasize assistance to mid-level practitioners. A Web site helps link practitioners to practice sites in underserved areas.

The project was part of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) national program Practice Sights: State Primary Care Development Strategies.

Key Results:

  • The state awarded 27 Community Challenge Grants, providing up to $75,000 in start-up funding for potential practice sites in both urban and rural underserved areas.
  • The Bureau of Primary Care Resources and Systems Development provided on-site technical assistance to communities developing new primary care practice sites, using both Practice Sights staff and a team of volunteer consultants.
  • Pennsylvania has aggressively pursued expansion of the J-1 Visa Waiver Program, which allows foreign-trained practitioners to practice in underserved areas.
  • Both the state's loan repayment program and the Community Challenge Grants program have helped bolster the ranks of mid-level practitioners in underserved areas.
  • The state incorporated a Primary Care Practitioner Clearinghouse into the state Department of Health website.

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