Rural Veterans Rural Health Services Employment Program Demonstration


The Challenge

To demonstrate how unemployed and underemployed rural veterans can be connected with rural health services that face a shortage of
appropriate non-clinical personnel.

Two and a half million service members were engaged in the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts.  Over a million more veterans will join the labor force over the next four years. A high proportion will return to the rural areas from which they were called up or recruited. The impact on rural veterans, their families and communities is profound. They will join the thousands of unemployed or underemployed veterans who came home ahead of them, all looking for jobs and employment opportunities that are scarce in rural America. Finding a job is the veteran’s biggest worry and explains why many have extended their military service. Employment in many rural areas has been declining for years.

Rural health services of all kinds also have a serious challenge: to find reliable, well-prepared and motivated employees for a wide range of
non-clinical jobs.


Our Goal

To implement a program that will demonstrate how the nation’s rural health care system can increase the pool of potential employees and provide meaningful jobs for rural veterans.

And, attract veterans to the opportunities and give them a competitive advantage through career orientation and connections to prospective employers.


Our Promise

Atlas Health Foundation will develop, demonstrate, evaluate and disseminate a program that recruits and works with veterans in three demonstration areas as they move through community college training to health care jobs. The model program will be disseminated across the country through the collaboration of a national advisory committee.



—Genesis Health System, Davenport, Iowa

Genesis Health, headquartered in Davenport Iowa and serving 17 counties across Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois,  is a leader in patient-centered, community health care. Genesis Medical Center was recognized as a 2015 “Top 50 Heart Hospital” by Truven Health Analytics, a top ranked Community Hospital by US News and World Report, and received Iowa’s Gold Achievement from the Iowa Recognition for Performance Excellence; their highest level or recognition, and the first health care system in Iowa to receive the distinction.

Genesis has participated in the Department of Veterans’ Affairs “We Honor Veterans” Program working with veterans in hospice care, their families, chaplains, and social workers to honor aging veterans’ service and help them share their stories.

Genesis is partnering with the Atlas Health Foundation as a demonstration site for the Rural Veterans Health Care Employment program to expand veteran’s opportunities in their communities and honor their service,


—Heartland Health Alliance, Lincoln Nebraska

The Heartland Health Alliance (HHA) is a 48-member hospital network providing service throughout Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa and Missouri.  This regional network of collaborating hospitals formed 22 years ago with a mission to enhance the quality and availability of cost effectiveness of rural health care by providing access to education, shared services and best practices.

Since its origination, the HHA has realized many cooperative successes, while retaining each hospitals local control and autonomy.  One example of concerted success is our Workforce Connections collaborative.  In this collaborative, eight hospitals have begun working in cooperation with our state community college in a long-term strategy for rural communities to address future workforce needs utilizing their existing local workforce.


—Intermountain Health System, Salt Lake City, Utah

Intermountain Healthcare is a not-for-profit health system based in Salt Lake City, Utah, with 22 hospitals, a broad range of clinics and services, about 1,400 employed primary care and secondary care physicians at more than 185 clinics in the Intermountain Medical Group, and health insurance plans from SelectHealth. The mission of Intermountain is “Helping people live the healthiest lives possible”, and its vision “Be a model health system by providing extraordinary care and superior service at an affordable cost”.


The Organizations Participating on the National Advisory Committee:

  • National Rural Health Association (chair)
  • American Hospital Association
  • Federation of American Hospitals
  • National Association of Community Health Centers
  • American College of Healthcare Executives
  • Volunteers of America
  • American College of Cardiology


To Implement the Program AHF Will:

  1. Develop collaborations with three health systems that provide rural services. The systems will provide expertise, access to rural communities, and potential employment opportunities. The systems will designate and manage a group of participating community hospitals.
  2. Work with the systems to appoint and train a facilitator in each hospital.
  3. Work with the systems and the facilitators who will proactively identify, contact, engage and counsel veterans. They will convene community committees to assist and support the program. Ideally veterans, they will convene participant meetings and facilitate practical learning opportunities.