Montana Rural Allied Health Professions Training Program (MRAHPTP)
The Montana Rural Allied Health Professions Training Program (MRAHPTP) enables rural training opportunities for allied health professions students in Montana. The program’s overall goal is to provide allied health professional students rural, community-based clinical training rotations and eventual employment with a rural health care provider. Dental hygienist, medical laboratory technician, radiological technician, pharmacy technician, physical therapist assistant, paramedic, certified nursing assistant, emergency medical technician, and phlebotomist are the nine professions chosen for the program. The program addresses the need for allied health workforce in Montana’s rural and frontier communities. MRAHPTP will work to expand access to quality health care and strengthen the rural health care system in Montana.
The MRAHPTP will recruit an estimated 137 existing allied health professions students for participation in rural training opportunities over three project years. Students will receive support for housing, travel and other needs during their rural clinical rotations. MRAHPTP has partnered with 5 colleges within the state that offer at least one of the five chosen allied health programs. Educational partners include Great Falls College, Miles City Community College, Missoula College, Flathead Valley Community College, and Highlands College-MT Tech.
The MRAHPTP will work to reduce barriers in the employment and retention of allied health professionals in rural Montana. The program will lead network members, regional AHEC representatives and partnering educational institutions in the development and implementation of rural placement assistance strategies for program completers. An estimated 125 program completers will be placed in rural or frontier health care provider organizations throughout the project three year period.
The Montana Rural HIT Workforce Development Network will provide network governance and will evaluate and develop sustainability plans for rural allied health training program activities and rural training opportunities to support long-term participant and network supports by the end of the project period. The regional AHEC will collaborate with Network members, and HealthCARE Montana to increase the understanding of industry validated credentials, credit for prior learning, transfer of Veterans’ military training to educational credentials, career ladders, and approved apprenticeships as pathways to reduce barriers to education and hiring.
The MRAHPTP is working on a state-wide allied health preceptor/mentor list. This list will consist of qualified, available preceptors for rural training and clinical experiences as needed to meet the demand or fill gaps in rural training sites. With an expanded list of available preceptors, many of the educational partners will be able to expand their programs and enroll more students each year.
As a result of several combined efforts across the state, including MRAHPTP, student enrollment numbers have increased in the allied health programs since grant year one (Fall 2015), most notably with the Medical Laboratory Technician program at a 900% increase from year one to year three. These efforts include, state-wide marketing of the programs and offering more distance learning options for students.
In a collaborative effort with our educational partners, we have established more rural training sites throughout the state in each of the allied health disciplines. Several rural hospitals around the state are funding allied health training costs for their current employees with contractual agreements for employment in those disciplines upon graduation. This has helped with the struggle of recruitment and retention of allied health professionals for Montana's rural and frontier sites and with combating the high cost of having to utilize locum employees to fill those positions.
|Flathead Valley Community College - Kalispell, MT||Great Falls College - Great Falls, MT||Miles Community College - Miles City, MT||Missoula College - Missoula, MT||Highlands College – Montana Tech - Butte, MT|