The Health Resources and Service Administration (HRSA) has launched a new database to determine whether rural hospitals also are classified as teaching hospitals, which could help identify potential sites for rural residency training.
Medicare limits existing teaching hospitals’ ability to grow residency programs and nonteaching hospitals’ ability to start residency programs and receive graduate medical education funding. Determining whether a rural hospital already is classified as a teaching hospital could indicate the facility’s eligibility to receive Medicare funding for new programs.
The database was launched jointly by the HRSA Data Warehouse and the University of North Carolina’s Sheps Center. It uses data from hospital cost reports to assess whether a hospital:
- self-reported that it hosts training programs;
- reported resident full-time equivalents; or
- obtained indirect medical education funding at any point from 1997 to 2013.
HRSA acknowledged several limitations to the tool, including data quality issues, and noted that the database should be used only as a first step in determining whether a facility already is considered a teaching hospital.