California Primary Care Office

The California Primary Care Office (PCO) is funded through a Cooperative Agreement between the Federal government and the California Department of Health Care Access and Information.

31st Annual Fall HPSA Designation Workshop: October 2023

The Department of Health Care Access and Information is pleased to announce that the California Primary Care Office and the State Office of Rural Health are hosting their Annual Health Professional Shortage Area Designation Workshop. This event will take place on October 12-13, 2023 in Monterey, California. Agenda is in progress and will be sent out to registrants closer to the date. Click the button below for more information and for registration and lodging details, special room rates are limited. For further assistance, please contact

NHSC Program Application Cycles

NHSC Loan Repayment

  • Check back Spring 2024
  • Application cycle currently closed 

NHSC Scholarship Program

  • Check back Spring 2024
  • Application cycle currently closed 

NHSC Site Application

NURSE Corps Loan Repayment

  • Check back Winter 2023
  • Application cycle currently closed

NURSE Corps Scholarship

  • Check back Spring 2023
  • Application cycle is currently 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).

The Shortage Designation Program

The Shortage Designation Program 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.

Please contact us for 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

Please contact us to request provider surveys for Primary Care, Dental Care, or Mental Health.


Find a Health Professional Shortage Area

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/MUP) Needed to Qualify for Selected Federal Program Assistance

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.

About the California Primary Care Office (PCO)

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.