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Governor's Certified Shortage Areas for Rural Health Clinics
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Governor's Certified Shortage Area designations are authorized under federal Rural Health Clinic (RHC) legislation and establish areas as underserved for primary care for RHC certification purposes.  Governor’s Certified Shortage Areas are also known as Governor-designated and Secretary-certified shortage areas. 


The RHC program was developed to improve access to primary care services in underserved rural areas.  RHCs use a team approach of physicians and non-physician providers, such as nurse practitioners, physician assistants and certified nurse midwives. 

To meet the location requirements for RHC certification, eligible clinics must be located within both an underserved and rural area.  Areas designated as a geographic or special population Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA), a Medically Underserved Area (MUA) or a Governor’s Certified Shortage Area within the last four years are considered underserved for purposes of RHC certification.  To be considered rural, eligible clinics must be located outside of U.S. Census Bureau defined urbanized areas.  

The Ohio State Office of Rural Health (SORH) can assist with location requirement information. The SORH also offers an annual statewide conference and other events and resources for rural providers, including RHCs and clinics pursuing RHC certification. Please see the contact information listed at the bottom of this page or visit the SORH Web page for more information or assistance.

Clinics must also meet staffing and other requirements for RHC certification. For more information on certification, please visit the Ohio Department of Health Bureau of Community Health Care Facilities & Services Web page.

Additional information on RHCs can be found by visiting the Rural Health Information Hub’s RHC Topic Guide


For designation as a Governor’s Certified Shortage Area, a service area must meet established criteria in Ohio, based upon a review of the local population-to-provider ratio and high-need indicators. If the area meets the criteria for designation, a request for designation is submitted to the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) for review and approval.

A list of designated Governor’s Certified Shortage Areas for RHC purposes in Ohio is available below.  As described above, a designation must be from within the last four years to be considered current for RHC certification purposes. 

Areas can be reviewed for new designation or re-designation if communities request a review and provide assistance with the review process.  Please see the contact information listed below for assistance or more information.

List of Designations