Date: January 10, 2022
The National Health Service Corps (NHSC) has received significantly increased funding this cycle which creates increased opportunity for rural health clinics (RHCs) to qualify for NHSC programs. The expectation for the current cycle of NHSC funding is that sites even in very low HPSAs may be able to qualify for NHSC programs. This is an excellent opportunity to recruit and retain providers in your community that you do not want to miss.
This NHSC funding cycle ends February 3rd. The Rural Health Information Hub (RHIhub) will host a webinar Thursday January 13th at 2 PM ET to explain details related to the expanded funding and how to qualify your RHC as NHSC sites. As a reminder, RHCs must offer a sliding fee scale in order to be an eligible NHSC site. RHCs should register here for the free webinar.
However, it is important to point out that roughly 1/3 of rural HPSAs are currently in “Proposed for Withdrawal” status. These withdrawals will be finalized on July 1, 2022, unless HRSA receives additional information to reverse the determination. Understand that if your HPSA is in Proposed for Withdrawal status you will not qualify for NHSC programs.
In September 2021, the Bureau of Health Workforce (BHW) issued a national update of HPSAs that relied on state Primary Care Offices (PCOs) to submit provider data in a specific format. This resulted in many locations no longer being deemed HPSAs. For some HPSAs, they now fall into a “Proposed for Withdrawal” status because there are enough primary care providers in the area. However, in other scenarios, the National Association of Rural Health Clinics (NARHC) has discovered that the provider data has not been provided by the PCO to BHW in the required format and the determination may be related to this data issue. State PCOs are responsible for providing this data to HRSA in the proper format.
Therefore, NARHC is recommending that every RHC check their HPSA status here using HRSA’s HPSA Find tool. If your RHC is in a HPSA in “Proposed for Withdrawal” status, and you feel that this determination is incorrect, you should contact your state Primary Care Office.