Promoting Retention: Retention Toolkit
National Health Service Corps clinicians receive scholarships and loan repayment in return for committing to practice in underserved areas for a defined period of time. More than 40,000 NHSC primary care clinicians have participated in the Corps since its inception, including 5,483 since passage of the Affordable Care Act. In addition to the recruitment of providers, the NHSC also works to retain primary care providers in underserved areas after their service commitment is completed to further leverage the Federal investment and to build more integrated and sustainable systems of care. The NHSC's efforts to support clinicians and to encourage peer-to-peer connections and networking have helped retention of Corps members in underserved communities. Strategies include a monthly electronic newsletter, Corps Connections, and a Facebook page to keep current Corps members and NHSC alumni apprised of program updates, events, and information of interest to primary care providers. The National Health Service Corps has also increased its focus on the tools available to clinical sites in underserved areas to help them attract and retain clinicians. These include the online NHSC Jobs Center, which serves as a resource for recruitment by allowing sites to post job opportunities targeted to primary care providers; and the site retention calculator, which assists individual sites in evaluating their own retention rates.
Midwest NHSC Clinician Retention Toolkit
The National Health Service Corps (NHSC) program facilitates connections between primary, dental, and psychiatric care providers and communities in need by supporting providers who choose to work in underserved areas of the US. In 2011, the NHSC expanded their Scholarship and Loan Repayment programs to include more than 10,000 clinicians providing care to the nation's underserved communities. The NHSC also provided funding to the State Primary Care Offices (PCOs) in Indiana, Minnesota and Wisconsin along with 33 other states to implement two-year projects to support and track the retention of NHSC health care providers in underserved communities. In the Midwest, Indiana, Minnesota and Wisconsin initiated a project to support the retention of NHSC providers in underserved areas by developing a Retention Toolkit of resources to help NHSC sites with provider retention. Similar to a provider's medical bag, the Retention Toolkit has a variety of instruments or tools for use at each stage of a health care organization's retention plan. This toolkit includes worksheets, sample surveys, agendas, and plans that may be utilized with all of these types of providers although many of the samples are based on physician retention. The tools ensure they are properly orientated to the practice, integrated into the community along with their family and recognized for their service and impact on local health care. The toolkit also features a national and state resource section with websites and contact information.