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.

Upcoming Events

California Primary Care Office and State Office of Rural Health Virtual Workshop

March 23, 2023, 9:30 am – 11:30 am

Join us for an informative virtual workshop created to introduce the expansion of services and resources available, including:

  • Primary Care Office Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA) Designations
  • State Office of Rural Health Technical Assistance and Training
  • Health Workforce Program Updates
  • Rural Hospital Flexibility Program (FLEX) and Small Hospital Improvement Program (SHIP)
  • What’s New In Telehealth: Educational Resources for Health Care Facilities

Full Agenda to follow.  To register contact

California State Office of Rural Health

The California State Office of Rural Health (CalSORH) links rural communities with state and federal resources and collaborates with statewide…

J-1 Visa Waiver Program

California's J-1 Visa Waiver Program gives priority to applications from primary care physicians who will work in federally designated underserved…

NHSC Program Application Cycles

NHSC Loan Repayment

  • Opens in 2020
  • Application cycle currently closed

NHSC Site Application

NURSE Corps Loan Repayment

  • Opens January 2020
  • Application cycle currently closed

NURSE Corps Scholarship

  • Opens Spring 2020
  • 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).

Technical Assistance Workshop Presentations

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.