180116 Barriers to Recruitment and Retention of Primary Healthcare Workers at Volunteer Health Centers: Suggestions for Administrators

Monday, October 27, 2008

Russell K. McIntire, MPH, BA , Department of Applied Health Science, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN
With the numbers of uninsured individuals in the United States on the rise and the lack of national legislation initiating comprehensive healthcare reform, communities have created alternative methods of providing healthcare for the uninsured. One such model that has gained popularity since the early 1990's is the volunteer health center (VHC). In the VHC model, patients are seen by a combination of paid staff and volunteer care providers such as physicians, nurses, dentists and other health care workers at a community-based site. A main characteristic of VHCs is that those providing direct patient care do not receive monetary incentive for seeing patients. Thus, the recruitment and retention of volunteer primary healthcare workers is an essential component in the establishment and sustainability of VHCs.

This research study attempts to identify the barriers to recruitment and retention of volunteer healthcare providers at VHCs, and to identify suggestions from health center administration about how to overcome these barriers. Over the course of three months, administrators from VHCs were identified and interviewed in order to gain their perspectives on volunteer recruitment and retention policies. Conclusions drawn from this study can be used to advise the organizers and administrators of VHCs about how to establish and improve recruitment and retention policies, and work towards sustaining such health centers in communities throughout the United States.

Learning Objectives:
1. Recognize the most significant barriers to recruitment and retention of healthcare workers at volunteer health centers as identified by health center administrators. 2. Recognize the recommendations that health center administrators have made about how to maximize recruitment and retention policies at volunteer health centers. 3. Discuss ways for volunteer health centers to adopt such recommendations.

Keywords: Community Health Centers, Free Health Clinics

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the principle and sole investigator for this research project
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.