Kentucky Focuses on Providing Primary Care to Rural Residents

Practice Sights: State Primary Care Development Strategies

The University of Kentucky's Center for Rural Health established an on-call community assistance program that provides direct services and local training in two dozen counties that were working on recruitment and retention issues.

Two primary care specialists have inventoried physicians' needs, worked to develop networks of providers and clinics, helped clinics and hospitals with capital improvement proposals, and profiled communities in recruitment materials.

The project—which included a planning phase starting in 1993 and an implementation phase starting in 1994—was part of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Practice Sights: State Primary Care Development Strategies national program.

Key Results

  • Practice Sights staff worked with university-based placement offices on recruitment strategies, including efforts to enhance the practice environment of mid-level providers.
  • Between 1993 and 1996, the 42 fully designated Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs) gained five primary care physicians, four physician assistants, and 22 nurse practitioners.
  • An on-call community assistance program, Community Initiated Decision-Making (CIDM), provides assistance and training of local individuals in two dozen underserved counties working on recruitment, retention issues, and planning issues.
  • Two Primary Care Systems Specialists (PCSS) have inventoried physicians' needs, worked to develop networks of providers and clinics, helped clinics and hospitals with capital improvement proposals, and profiled communities in recruitment materials.
  • The state has extended prescription privileges to nurse practitioners and launched the Homeplace Project, which trains lay health workers to serve as liaisons between underserved individuals and health care agencies and services.