Do residents who train in safety net settings return for practice?

Acad Med. 2013 Dec;88(12):1934-40. doi: 10.1097/ACM.0000000000000025.


Purpose: To examine the relationship between training during residency in a federally qualified health center (FQHC), rural health clinic (RHC), or critical access hospital (CAH) and subsequent practice in these settings.

Method: The authors identified residents who trained in safety net settings from 2001 to 2005 and in 2009 using 100% Medicare Part B claims files for FQHCs, RHCs, and CAHs and 2011 American Medical Association Masterfile residency start and end date histories. They used 2009 Medicare claims data to determine the relationship between this training and subsequent practice in safety net settings.

Results: The authors identified 662 residents who had a Medicare claim filed in their name by an RHC, 975 by an FQHC, and 1,793 by a CAH from 2001 to 2005 and in 2009. By 2009, that number of residents per year had declined for RHCs and FQHCs but increased substantially for CAHs. The percentage of physicians practicing in a safety net setting in 2009 who had trained in a similar setting from 2001 to 2005 was 38.1% (205/538) for RHCs, 31.2% (219/703) for FQHCs, and 52.6% (72/137) for CAHs.

Conclusions: Using Medicare claims data, the authors identified residents who trained in safety net settings and demonstrated that many went on to practice in these settings. They recommend that graduate medical education policy support or expand training in these settings to meet the surge in health care demand that will occur with the enactment of the Affordable Care Act insurance provision in 2014.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Career Choice*
  • Education, Medical, Graduate / organization & administration
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency / organization & administration*
  • Medically Underserved Area
  • Medicare
  • Physicians / statistics & numerical data
  • Physicians / supply & distribution*
  • Safety-net Providers*
  • United States