The Montana Hospital Association (MHA) recognizes the challenge of recruiting and retaining a qualified healthcare workforce in rural Montana. Together with our partners and the Montana Legislature, we must address the shortage of primary care physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners and other necessary providers. Solutions that integrate quality education and training strategies will help ensure the sustainability of our healthcare system.

The healthcare workforce in Montana is one of the fastest aging groups in the country. As the “baby boom” generation begins its migration towards retirement, there do not appear to be enough younger workers in the state to replace those leaving healthcare.

Investments in Montana’s medical infrastructure are investments in the state’s health and economy.

Improved Access to Medical Education in Montana

MHA seeks to expand medical education at all levels of training and for a broad spectrum of healthcare professionals. Priority must be given to proven pathways of education that maximize the establishment and maintenance of rural practice.

Continued Development of Primary Care Residency Programs

Existing programs in Montana have demonstrated success in the retention of graduates specializing in family medicine, general medicine, pediatrics and other disciplines. Further development of residency training will help to ensure a continued supply of skilled clinicians.

Ongoing Participation in WWAMI and Current Residence Programs

The University of Washington’s multi-state medical education program, WWAMI (Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, Idaho) and Montana’s current residency programs meet our goal of improving local access to quality, affordable and effective healthcare.

Issues and opportunities to address workforce challenges:

  • Develop the healthcare workforce in rural communities
  • Funding for health professions education
  • Maximize scope of practice for licensed health professionals
  • Expand information gathering on health professionals during practice license renewal process to better inform development efforts
  • Protect and expand medical residency programs
  • Preserve graduate medical education (GME) funding
  • Preserve 30 Montana slots in the University of Washington multi-state medical education program WWAMI (Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, Idaho)
  • Preserve Montana Rural Physician Incentive Program (MRPIP)
  • Preserve Enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact and support legislation for entering into additional healthcare professional licensing compacts
  • Support and develop a statewide healthcare system attractive to clinical professionals, including regulatory and policy environments that do not interfere with the physician-patient relationship and allow clinicians the ability to practice at the highest standards of care

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