Primary Care Office (PCO)

Programs and Services

The Primary Care Office (PCO) is funded by federal grants from the Health Resources Services Administration (HRSA) to support multiple programs through the following services:

• Complete applications for federal designation of Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs) or Medically Underserved Areas or Populations (MUA/Ps). These designations support eligibility for increased federal funding and recruitment of health professionals;
• Review applications and provide letters of support for the Nevada Conrad 30/J-1 Physician Visa Waiver and National Interest Waiver (NIW) programs to bring international medical graduates to underserved areas in Nevada;
• Review site applications and provide recommendations for the HRSA Loans and Scholarships.
• Provide support for recruitment and retention of primary care providers in designated areas.


    The Primary Care Advisory Council (PCAC) was established in 2008 for the Nevada Conrad 30/J-1 Physician Visa Waiver program, to enhance oversight of the PCO and the services provided, in an advisory capacity to the Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health Administrator. Creation of the PCAC led to statutory and regulatory changes to ensure compliance with the J-1 Physician Visa Waiver program. Background on these changes is provided in an issue paper from the National Association of Community Health Centers. The statutory changes are contained in Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS) 439A.130 – 439A.185. Regulatory changes are contained in Nevada Administrative Code (NAC) 439A.700-755

      Needs Assessment

      The PCO completed a statewide Needs Assessment Report in 2016, leveraging the good work of several of our partners, including: the Nevada Maternal, Child and Adolescent Health program, the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services Director's Office, and the Nevada State Office of Rural Health.  The core element of the Needs Assessment utilized by the PCO is the provider data that is the single greatest factor for HPSA designation. Collecting provider data is a resource-intensive effort requiring extensive surveys of a majority of physicians, psychiatrists and dentists in our state. 



        Primary Care Partners collaborate to develop strategies for data sharing, recruitment and retention, and expanded access to primary care. Participants include representatives from the following organizations: Nevada Office of Rural Health, Nevada Primary Care Association, Nevada Rural Hospital Partners, Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education, Nevada Area Health Education CentersUniversity of Nevada School of Medicine, Nevada System of Higher Education, Community Coalitions, multiple Nevada health professional licensing boards, and dozens of Nevada safety net sites.

          Recruitment and Retention Plans

          The documents linked below are site-specific recruitment and retention plans that were developed to be used as templates for safety-net providers. They contain detailed information about their respective communities and clinic sites, as well as personnel and hiring information, and engagement of community-based partners in retaining health care professionals. Please feel free to adapt these plans for your own clinic and community.

          Douglas Counseling and Supportive Services, Recruitment and Retention Plan for Mental Health Professionals
          Lyon Counseling and Supportive Services, Recruitment and Retention Plan for Mental Health Professionals 


          The Midwest Retention Toolkit 2012 is another great resource for our partners who are interested in this subject.

            Last Updated: 5/16/2018