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Primary Care Office
The Primary Care Office (PCO) works with other agencies and stakeholders to support and improve access to comprehensive, culturally competent, quality, primary health care services for underserved and vulnerable populations. This is done through three program areas: 1) Statewide Primary Care Needs Assessment, 2) Shortage Designation Coordination, and 3) Technical Assistance and Collaboration that Seeks to Expand Access to Primary Care.

Statewide Primary Care Needs Assessment

The Primary Care Office uses geographic area and population data at county and sub-county levels to identify lack of access to primary care services; identify shortage of primary care providers; identify key barriers to access to health care; and identify the highest need for health services. The PCO also contains the Health Professions Workforce Data Center.

Shortage Designation Coordination

The Primary Care Office coordinates the Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA) and Medically Underserved Areas/Population (MUA/P) designation process; provide technical assistance to organizations/communities about the designation process; and apply for new, and update existing, designations, as needed.

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
  • Dental
  • 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, and federal and state correctional 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.

Technical Assistance and Collaboration that Seeks to Expand Access to Primary Care

The Primary Care Office continues to support outreach and education that encourages participation in federal workforce programs, provide technical assistance to potential and current National Health Service Corps members and sites, and evaluates all National Health Service Corps Recruitment and Retention Application requests from entities requesting assignment of Corps members.

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New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services
129 Pleasant Street | Concord, NH | 03301-3852

copyright 2010. State of New Hampshire