The California Primary Care Office (PCO)

The California Primary Care Office (PCO) is a Cooperative Agreement between the Federal government and the California Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development.

The core functions include:

  • Organizational Effectiveness/Foster Collaboration with stakeholders;
  • Technical Assistance to Organizations/Communities wishing to Expand Access to Primary Care for Underserved Populations;
  • Assessment of Needs/Sharing Data;
  • Workforce Development for the NHSC and Safety Net/Health Center Network;
  • Shortage Designation Applications and Updates.

The California Primary Care Office is funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) and the Bureau of Health Workforce (BHW). The purpose of this funding is to improve primary care service delivery and workforce availability in the State or territory to meet the needs of underserved populations by supporting the coordination of local, State, territorial, and Federal resources that contribute to improving the healthcare needs of underserved populations.

The PCO provides data analysis services and liaisons between the federal government and healthcare provider sites applying for HPSA or MUA/MUP status. Shortage designations enable clinics to be eligible for assignment of National Health Services Corp Personnel or apply for Rural Health Clinic Certification, Federally Qualified Health Center status (FQHC), FQHC Look-Alike, or New Start/Expansion program, depending on the designation.

We are State's liaison to the federal Shortage Designation Branch (SDB) of Health Resources and Services Administration. The program was authorized by Congress as the Emergency Health Personnel Act of 1970 under the U.S. Public Health Service Act. The federal government provides funding for the program.

This program is authorized under the Public Health Service Act as amended, Title 3, Sections 330 and 333, which provides for

  • Assistance to Statewide organizations in the development and delivery of comprehensive primary health care service in areas that lack adequate numbers of health professionals or have populations lacking access to primary care; and
  • Technical and non-financial assistance to community-based providers of comprehensive primary and preventive care for underserved and vulnerable populations.

Programs

The California PCO consists of the program:

  • The Shortage Designation Program (SDP)
    provides technical assistance to clinics and healthcare providers seeking recognition as a federally designated Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA) for Primary Care, Dental Health, and Mental Health disciplines or Medically Underserved Area/Medically Underserved Population (MUA/MUP). SDP also provides technical assistance to clinics and healthcare providers seeking approval of National Health Service Corps (NHSC) site certifications.

NHSC Application Cycle

Program Cycle Dates More Information Application
NHSC Loan Repayment Opens January 2018 Closed
NHSC Site Application Opens Spring 2018 NHSC site information
Become an NHSC Site
Closed
NURSE Corps Loan Repayment Opens January 2018 Closed
NURSE Corps Scholarship Opens Spring 2018 Closed

Technical Assistance

The PCO provides technical assistance to clinics and other primary care providers seeking recognition as a federally designated Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA) or Medically Underserved Area/Medically Underserved Population (MUA/MUP).

Technical Assistance Workshop Presentations

Here are the most updated PowerPoint presentations from our technical assistance workshops to help guide you through the application process:


Designation Worksheets

Templates for provider surveys and facility HPSA designations.

Resources

  • Census Tract Locator (FFIEC Geocoding System)
    Type in the street address, city, state, and zip code, then hit the "Search" button. Write down the number in the "Tract Code" box; this is your census tract number.
  • Searchable Federal Designation Listings
    Both listings are part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).
  • Designation (HPSA or MUA/P) needed to qualify for selected federal program assistance.

Medical Service Study Areas

Maps, GIS and Data

HWDD reviews California's counties Medical Service Study Areas (MSSAs) to assess population density, provider-to-population ratios, poverty levels, and public health indicators for eligibility to receive federal assistance for health care through federally designated Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSA). The federally designated Medical Service Study Areas (MSSAs) are utilized by HWDD programs to determine funding through analysis of sites in underserved areas.

Medical Service Study Areas
2013 GIS Shapefile Zipped
GIS Shapefile Zipped – (Census Tracts)
Excel – MSSA
Excel – Census Tracts
2000 GIS Shapefile Zipped PDF Map Excel - Census Tracts
MSSA Definition    
Rural, Urban and Frontier Definition GIS Shapefile PDF Map
MSSA Data Dictionary     Excel
MSSA to Zip Code Crosswalk     Excel
Health Professional Shortage Areas
Primary Care Designation GIS Shapefile Zipped PDF Map
Mental Health Designation GIS Shapefile Zipped PDF Map
Dental Designation GIS Shapefile Zipped PDF Map
Medically Underserved Areas/ Medically Underserved Population
Designation GIS Shapefile Zipped - MUA
GIS Shapefile Zipped - MUP
PDF Map
Other Data
Rural Clinics GIS Shapefile Zipped
Healthcare Facilities GIS Shapefile Zipped
Zip Code GIS Shapefile Zipped – Zip Code
GIS Shapefile Zipped – ZCTA

This page was last updated on Friday, December 29, 2017.

Contact PCO

Email Primary Care Office