Journal of General Internal Medicine (08/30/22) Farkas, Amy H.; Merriam, Sarah; Frayne, Susan; et al.
Researchers evaluated the Veterans Health Administration's (VHA) Women's Health Mini-Residency (WH-MR) as it related to retention of women's health primary care providers (WH-PCPs). The WH-MR program was established in 2011, a year after the VHA designated WH-PCPs to preferentially offer thorough gender-specific care. The faculty development program provides WH-PCPs with case-based, hands-on experience in women's healthcare. The authors assessed
the association between WH-MR participation and WH-PCP retention in fiscal years 2018 and 2019 using the Women's Health Assessment of Workforce Capacity-Primary Care survey. WH-MR participants included medical doctors/doctors of osteopathy, nurse practitioners (NPs), and physician assistants. The survey included all 2,664 WH-PCPs in FY 2018. A total 80.9% of the original cohort remained WH-PCPs in FY 2019, indicating 19.1% attrition, while 86.7% of WH-MR participants retained WH-PCP status versus 7.4% of non-participants. NPs were also more likely to retain this status, while retention was less likely for those practicing exclusively in a designated women's clinic. "Given the high costs of recruitment and on-boarding of new providers, which ranges from $250,000 to $1 million depending on the provider, the VHA should encourage WH-PCPs to participate in the WH-MR program as a potential mitigation strategy for high rates of WH-PCP attrition," the authors recommend. They also urge further assessment of WH-MR programs' impact to incorporate more longitudinal or qualitative analysis.