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The Wisconsin Office of Rural Health works to improve
the access to, and quality of, rural health care.

Engaging Rural Communities

Strong working relationships with strategic partners throughout the state and nation are central to the mission of the Wisconsin Office of Rural Health. The Rural Health Development Council (RHDC), a governor’s appointed, legislatively approved advisory council to the Wisconsin Department of Commerce is staffed by the Wisconsin Office of Rural Health. The Council addresses rural healthcare provider issues, develops recommendations on ways in which to strengthen rural communities by recommending alternative solutions and securing funding for community based collaborations to improve health indicators. The Strong Rural Communities Initiative (SRCI), developed by the RHDC promises to be a transformational model of community collaboration between rural residents and medical schools, local businesses, rural hospitals and clinics, and government health and social service providers in rural Wisconsin communities. Efforts to strengthen rural communities include loan assistance programs for physicians and dentists interested in serving the rural uninsured; grant writing training; and community development support.


Health Professions Loan Assistance Program

Loan assistance is available to eligible healthcare providers practicing in medical and dental health professions shortage areas (HPSAs). Physicians, Dentists, Physician Assistants, Certified Nurse Practitioners, Certified Nurse Midwives, and Dental Hygienists are eligible.


Ongoing Sustainability of Rural Hospitals

Hospitals are key providers of local healthcare as well as economic drivers in rural communities. The Wisconsin Office of Rural Health offers its programs to all rural hospitals in the state through the Rural Hospital Coalition (formerly CAH Coalition).

The Wisconsin Rural Hospital Flexibility Program (FLEX), administered by the Wisconsin Office of Rural Health, provides grant funding to rural hospitals in the form of Mini-Grants for collaborative community initiatives. Additionally, FLEX funds enable the Wisconsin Office of Rural Health to provide workshops and training to hospitals based on common interests, disseminating existing rural best practices and translating models that work in large urban areas for use in rural communities. Workshops on quality improvement, emergency medical systems, rural hospital financial management, community collaboration, and leadership development in rural communities have been very well received.

The Small Rural Hospital Improvement Program (SHIP) provides funding for quality improvement and HIPAA compliance initiatives through HRSA Office of Rural Health Policy funding. All CAHs are fully accredited, based in rural communities, provide a broad array of inpatient and outpatient healthcare services, and employ individuals, significantly impacting economic viability in rural communities in Wisconsin.


Physician Placement Program

The Physician Placement Program is a unique not-for-profit program with the means and ability to positively impact access to healthcare by serving as a resource both for physicians seeking employment, and for healthcare facilities seeking to hire primary and specialty care physicians. Physicians placed into these sites promote and sustain a high quality of life, especially in rural, underserved areas. This program has worked for over 25 years in partnership with clinics, hospitals and other healthcare providers throughout the state to place physicians in communities. We strive to ensure the best possible “match” for both physician candidates and employers. To find physicians who want to practice in Wisconsin, we place journal advertisements, utilize physician recruitment sourcing websites, send mass mailings to resident physicians, and give presentations in residency programs across the state. No other single physician recruitment entity in Wisconsin can offer all these services to physicians and healthcare facilities. We invite you to contact us regarding physician placement in your organization.

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