California Primary Care Office

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.

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 to request provider surveys for primary care, dental or mental health or if you would like to request the most updated presentation on the application process.


To Find a Health Professional Shortage Area, Click on One of the Buttons Below

For more information about HRSA, learn more here.

Designation (HPSA or MUA/MUP) Needed to Qualify for Selected Federal Program Assistance

Already designated? Here are some resources you may now be eligible to apply for. Interested in rural resources? Check out the State office of rural health.