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Primary Care Office
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Primary Care Office

The purpose of the Primary Care Office (PCO) is to improve access to comprehensive primary care services and increase health care workforce availability to meet the needs of Ohio's underserved communities. The PCO works to identify shortages of primary care, oral health, and behavioral health services throughout rural and urban Ohio. Types of shortage designations include Health Professional Shortage Areas, Medically Underserved Areas/Populations, and Governor’s Certified Shortage Areas for Rural Health Clinics. Identified needs are addressed through the PCO’s coordination of federal and state workforce programs, including the National Health Service Corps, state loan repayment, and J-1 visa waivers.

Workforce Programs - Workforce programs develop, recruit, and retain primary care, oral health, and behavioral health providers for underserved communities. 

Shortage Designations - Areas of need identified through coordination of the federal designation process for Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSA) and Medically Underserved Areas/Populations (MUA/P).HPSA designation may be done for geographic areas, population groups or facilities & is required for health care providers to apply for federal & state workforce programs. MUA/P is required for safety net sites to apply for Federally Qualified Health Center funding.

Free Clinics - The Charitable Healthcare Network, formerly known as The Ohio Association of Free Clinics (OAFC), receives funds from the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) to pay for the health care services to patients who lack the funds or insurance coverage to pay for vital health services and distributes these funds to free clinics around the state. These funds pay for primary health care services to any uninsured person at a free clinic who is in need of health care.