The Primary Care Office provides technical assistance to community health centers to help them offer quality healthcare services to any NH resident regardless of ability to pay. The PCO, together with the Maternal and Child Health Section, provides some financial assistance to the community health centers for primary care services to underserved residents as well.
Access to doctors, dentists and other healthcare providers is a challenge for residents of some communities. The Primary Care Office helps to identify areas that have a healthcare provider shortage. These shortage designations help healthcare organizations and public agencies to prioritize funds and provider placement.
A Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA) is a federal designation reflecting a shortage of primary medical care, dental or mental health providers, in accordance with the federal guidelines. This designation may be established in urban or rural areas, population groups, or in medical or other public facilities.
Health Professional Shortage Areas can be established for:
- Primary Medical Care
- Mental Health
Types of HPSA designations:
- Geographic - indicates a shortage of primary medical care, dental and mental health providers in the total population
- Population - indicates that the population in a specific area is underserved relevant to primary medical care, dental and mental health providers
- Facility - community health centers, rural health clinics, federal and state correctional facilities, youth detention centers, state or county mental health hospitals, public or non-profit facilities
Other Shortage Designations
Medically Underserved Areas (MUAs) may be a whole county or a group of counties or towns, or a group of urban census tracts in which residents have a shortage of health services. Medically Underserved Populations (MUPs) may include large groups of people who face economic, cultural or linguistic barriers to health care.
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