Baton Rouge --- Approximately 50,000 Louisiana residents in 13 underserved communities now have increased access to primary and preventive health care services as a result of the Med Job Louisiana provider recruitment program. In its first year of statewide implementation, Med Job Louisiana has successfully recruited 16 new primary care providers to rural communities.
Primary care providers (doctors, nurse practitioners and physician assistants) were recruited to the parishes of Acadia, Ascension, Avoyelles, Caldwell, Franklin, Iberia, Morehouse, Rapides, Richland, St. Charles, St. Helena, Union and Webster. Combined, these health professionals will generate an estimated $3.5 million per year in payroll and benefits.
Department of Health and Hospitals Secretary Fred Cerise, M.D., M.P.H., joined Med Job Louisiana Administrators at University Medical Center in Lafayette on Thursday morning to officially announce the success of the program in securing the 16 new providers. Administrators of the placement sites and doctors recruited through the program were invited to attend, along with key members of the Louisiana Legislature who supported the program.
“We are very excited that 16 new primary care providers have been recruited to Louisiana as a result of this innovative program,” said Dr. Fred Cerise. “The efforts of our recruiters and the work of the communities they have assisted over the past year have resulted in greater access to needed primary care services in many rural and underserved areas.”
Med Job Louisiana is a partnership between the Louisiana Department of Health – Bureau of Primary Care and Rural Health, the Louisiana Rural Health Access Program and the Louisiana Area Health Education Centers. It was designed to provide free professional recruitment services to rural and underserved communities in designated health professional shortage areas and to help these communities attract qualified health professionals to improve access to primary and preventive health care.
“The Med Job Louisiana provider recruitment program is one of the most interesting and important models that I have seen emerge in many years in this country,” said Michael Beachler, National Program Director of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Southern Rural Access Program. “Med Job Louisiana is a coordinated approach that combines the strength of state resources and staff with the creativity of the local Area Health Education Centers, who work extremely well with communities and providers serving high need populations.”
Med Job Louisiana was modeled after a very successful program implemented in North Carolina in 1973. In its first year, North Carolina placed eight providers, compared to Louisiana’s 16 new recruits. Since then, North Carolina’s recruitment program has successfully recruited more than 2,000 physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants and/or dentists.
Cerise said the success of Med Job Louisiana in its first year indicates that at this rate, the program has the potential to continue to place large numbers of health care providers in Louisiana’s underserved areas in the coming years.
“Recruitment and retention programs like Med Job Louisiana encourage health professionals who are trained in Louisiana not to leave our state for practice opportunities elsewhere,” he said. “By linking providers with practice opportunities in our state, providers have the opportunity to give back to the residents of Louisiana.”
The Louisiana Area Health Education Centers employ two full-time Med Job Louisiana recruiters. One recruiter works in north and central Louisiana, and the other works in southeast and southwest Louisiana. The recruiters work with physicians specializing in family practice, internal medicine, pediatrics, obstetrics/gynecology and general surgery, nurse practitioners, physician assistants and dentists. Recruitment services are free of charge to hospitals, federally qualified health centers, rural health clinics and public health units located in designated health professional shortage areas.
To make successful placements, Med Job Louisiana recruiters use Practice Sights software. The software package stores profiles of communities with available practice opportunities and providers’ curriculum vitae. By comparing the two databases, Practice Sights makes linkages between providers and communities based on compatibility. The recruiters work with eligible entities to develop community profiles, and curriculum vitae are entered as Med Job Louisiana recruiters meet with residency, mid-level, and dental programs in Louisiana and out-of-state candidates with ties to Louisiana. Currently, there are more than 198 curriculum vitae and 135 community profiles in Practice Sights.
Med Job Louisiana also serves as a referral service for other state programs such as the State Loan Repayment Program, the J-1 Visa Waiver Program, the National Health Service Corps, the Rural Loan Fund and rural preceptor programs administered through the Louisiana Area Health Education Centers.
For more information about Med Job Louisiana or to find out how to receive free recruitment services for your community, contact the Department of Health – Bureau of Primary Care and Rural Health at (225) 342-9513, or visit http://www.medjoblouisiana.com. To contact Med Job Louisiana recruiters directly, call Carl Kelly at (337) 497-0127 or Lee Ann Albert at (225) 933-8746.