Recruitment incentive program accepting applications

Recruitment incentive program accepting applications Beginning May 3, the state began accepting applications for an incentive program that helps rural facilities recruit health professionals. The South Dakota Health Professional Recruitment Incentive Program was originally created in 2002 to recruit nurses but expanded in 2003 to include other health professionals.

"In 2003, 30 counties used the program and recruited more than 50 health professionals, from nurses and physical therapists to paramedics and pharmacists," said state Secretary of Health Doneen Hollingsworth. "We're very pleased to offer it again this year and hope to see even greater participation."

The incentive program pays eligible health professionals $5,000 to complete two-year service obligations at South Dakota facilities. The payment is split between the state and the community with the state paying 50 percent of the $5,000 for communities over 2,500 and 75 percent for communities 2,500 and under. Communities may pay their portion at any time, while the state makes payment only after completion of the obligation.

Eligible health professionals include dietitians/nutritionists, nurses (LPN or RN), occupational therapists, physical therapists, paramedics, pharmacists and respiratory therapists. Certified medical technologists, medical laboratory technologists and radiologic technologists are also eligible.

Applications must be submitted by the employing facility, not the individual health professional. Selection begins July 5 with up to two applications chosen per county until the 60 available slots are filled.

Application forms and detailed instructions are available on the Department of Health Web site at www.RuralHealth.sd.gov. Questions can also be directed to the Office of Rural Health at 1-800-738-2301.

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