Frequently Asked Questions

The program is intended to help recruit certain health professions by providing a financial incentive for them to fill vacancies in healthcare facilities.

The program provides $10,000 directly to each health professional who has entered into a three-way contract and completed a three-year service obligation. The professional must provide full-time services within their occupation at an employing facility in South Dakota.

The payment each health professional receives is split between the state and the employing facility. The proportion each pays is dependent on the size of the community in which the facility is located. Communities of 2500 or less pay 25% of the $10,000. Communities over 2500 pay 50% of the $10,000.

The community portion of the payment can be made at any time; the state payment occurs only after the completion of the three-year service obligation.

The application must be submitted by the facility that is or will be employing the health professional. Applications will be accepted beginning May 1 each year and should be submitted to the Office of Rural Health.

To be eligible, the employing facility must be located in a South Dakota community with a population of 10,000 or less. Eligible facility types include ambulance services, licensed hospitals, nursing facilities, licensed inpatient chemical dependency facilities, federally qualified health centers, home health agencies, intermediate care facilities for individuals with intellectual disabilities, community support providers, community mental health centers, dental practices, and end-stage renal disease facilities.

To enter into a Rural Healthcare Facility Recruitment Assistance Agreement, the health professional must be a full-time employee and either: a) have an unrestricted South Dakota license within the following professions:

  • Dietitian or Nutritionist
  • Nurse (LPN or RN)
  • Occupational Therapist
  • Respiratory Therapist
  • Speech Therapist
  • Pharmacist
  • Physical Therapist
  • Paramedic
  • Healthcare Social Worker
  • Dental Hygienists

or b) be fully certified as either a Medical Technologist / Laboratory Technologist, Clinical Laboratory Scientist, or Medical Lab Scientist (by ASCP, AMT, or AAB), or a Radiologic Technologist (by ARRT, ARDMS, NMTC, or MDCB).

Full-time is at least 36 hours of professional services weekly for a minimum of 48 weeks per year.

Yes, the health professional must be a new employee at an eligible facility. A new employee is defined as an eligible health professional who has been employed within their occupation at an eligible facility for no longer than nine months prior to the date the Office of Rural Health receives the application.

No person may participate in this program if he or she is participating or has previously participated in any other state or federal tuition reimbursement or loan forgiveness program which obligates the person to provide medical services within an underserved area.

Yes, If you have gotten a license in an eligible occupation for this program you would now qualify for the program up to 9 months after obtaining employment in your eligible occupation.

The program has a limited number of slots available and selects eligible applicants on a first-come, first-served basis from July through December, or from July until the annual quota as provided by SDCL 34-12G-12 has been met, whichever comes first. There is also a limit of three participants per facility. If a facility submits applications for more than three eligible health professionals, preference will be given to an application proposing to hire a new graduate.

The facility applying will be notified if an application has been selected starting in July. The next step in the process involves the three-party Recruitment Assistance Agreement which will need to be signed by an authorized representative of the facility, the health professional receiving payment, and the state.

Yes, the payments made to participants are regarded as income by the IRS.

The Rural Healthcare Facility Recruitment Assistance Program accepts applications from May 1 - December 31 each year. After printing, please sign and date the form. Applications can be mailed to the Office of Rural Health, 600 East Capitol, Pierre, SD 57501, scanned and emailed to, or faxed to 605-773-5683.

For more information contact the South Dakota Office of Rural Health, 600 E. Capitol, Pierre, SD, 57501, or 1-800-738-2301.