So what is rural?

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WhereMyLiberalsAt

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I will be applying to medical school this next cycle, and wanted to understand what constitutes the label of rural. I plan on applying to DO schools, and want to honest when telling them "I want to practice rural medicine." I do know rural physicians have the potential to obtain better compensation than their urban counterparts. I'm not basing my intentions on this information, but it would put me at ease to know I could pay off student loans more comfortably not obtaining a salary like some other specialties. I have a county in mind in my state https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sanpete_County,_Utah

I don't really see me, and my wife settling in a county smaller than that. I do like the idea of working at a community hospital as a hospitalist and working in a clinic when I'm not on shift. Thoughts about what constitutes rural medicine would be greatly appreciated!

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When people say "you can make bank going rural" they are generally talking about rural sites that either (a) have their act together enough to do the years-long community/state/federal work to get community/state/federal support to fund incentives to recruit docs in places nobody wants to go, or (b) have their act together enough to do the decades-long negotiation that drives high private reimbursement, and they need your labor either to grow or to replace retirees. The bigger the organization (solo practice to group practice to FQHC to hospital etc), the more complicated the reasoning for offering big fat reimbursement. Or not.

If you want to be in Sanpete county, and you want an employer in Sanpete county to pay you a boatload of money, find out who might actually do that. Familiarize yourself with the practices/clinics/hospitals there. A two word google got me a list of more than a dozen. You should look for opportunities to mingle with those docs - shadow some, get yourself invited to a medical society function, check back regularly during med school and residency. This kind of networking is done at the expense of other kinds of networking - such as state/national specialty conferences etc. You need people who can help you along.

Intermountain is in that county, and it's one of the more reputable and well known big non-profit managed care systems, like Kaiser and Geisinger. As a nonprofit, they would qualify as an employer that gets you PSLF (if PSLF is still around. maybe. or maybe you'll owe your student loans to China in 2028 and you won't have a choice where you work and only those who speak Mandarin will get ahead. hard to say.). But realistically, I think it's pretty safe for you to expect Intermountain to still be there 10 years from now, and it's safe for you to expect Intermountain to offer a competitive salary package for fresh docs, and it's safe for you to expect that Intermountain will be one of multiple employers recruiting you, some paying less, some paying more.

tl;dr: you need to know people doing what you want to do where you want to do it.
 
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When people say "you can make bank going rural" they are generally talking about rural sites that either (a) have their act together enough to do the years-long community/state/federal work to get community/state/federal support to fund incentives to recruit docs in places nobody wants to go, or (b) have their act together enough to do the decades-long negotiation that drives high private reimbursement, and they need your labor either to grow or to replace retirees. The bigger the organization (solo practice to group practice to FQHC to hospital etc), the more complicated the reasoning for offering big fat reimbursement. Or not.

If you want to be in Sanpete county, and you want an employer in Sanpete county to pay you a boatload of money, find out who might actually do that. Familiarize yourself with the practices/clinics/hospitals there. A two word google got me a list of more than a dozen. You should look for opportunities to mingle with those docs - shadow some, get yourself invited to a medical society function, check back regularly during med school and residency. This kind of networking is done at the expense of other kinds of networking - such as state/national specialty conferences etc. You need people who can help you along.

Intermountain is in that county, and it's one of the more reputable and well known big non-profit managed care systems, like Kaiser and Geisinger. As a nonprofit, they would qualify as an employer that gets you PSLF (if PSLF is still around. maybe. or maybe you'll owe your student loans to China in 2028 and you won't have a choice where you work and only those who speak Mandarin will get ahead. hard to say.). But realistically, I think it's pretty safe for you to expect Intermountain to still be there 10 years from now, and it's safe for you to expect Intermountain to offer a competitive salary package for fresh docs, and it's safe for you to expect that Intermountain will be one of multiple employers recruiting you, some paying less, some paying more.

tl;dr: you need to know people doing what you want to do where you want to do it.

Wow! Thank you for such a great response! I will listen to your advice and drive down over winter break, and see if I can discuss what opportunities I can take advantage of. The thought of doing ground work this far out didn't even cross my mind, but it could keep me preoccupied while waiting for invites this summer/fall! Thank you once again!
 
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Potential income of a full scope family physician in a town of 9,000 with a small hospital/ER/OR one hour from the nearest mid sized city?
 
Potential income of a full scope family physician in a town of 9,000 with a small hospital/ER/OR one hour from the nearest mid sized city?
I work at 2 such places. most of the FP docs I work with make > $120/hr, some > $150/hr if they cover a lot of ER shifts and also take hospitalist and OB call. .
 
Are you really looking for rural? Come to Canada. I looked at the physician job board and there are lots of family physician jobs in very rural locations. Looked at one that's up today looking for 3 doctors off the north shore of Lake Superior 3 hours northeast of a town with a couple of hundred thousand people. You do office and ER with some on call work. Estimated income for the year is C$400,000. That's "only" about Us$300,000 but it is a hell of a lot of money. You would probably learn an enormous amount.


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