Connecticut Primary Care Office (PCO)
The mission of the Connecticut Primary Care Office (PCO) is to improve the health of Connecticut residents who live in underserved areas, through timely and accurate assessment, planning, and assistance, to increase access to primary care providers of medical, dental, and mental health services. The PCO conducts in-depth research and analysis of the healthcare delivery system and the population it serves to identify trends in access and develop strategies to address deficiencies. To accomplish this, the PCO maintains strong working relationships with other agencies and programs, both public and private. The PCO also works with communities to identify areas that may meet federal guidelines for Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA) designations.
The PCO ensures that Connecticut is able to recruit and retain high quality health care professionals to serve as primary care providers in our urban and rural areas. Working with the federal Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), the PCO serves as the point of contact for many federal and state workforce assistance programs, designed to help attract new and experienced health professionals of various disciplines to join our healthcare provider community.
The PCO works with health care providers and communities to improve access to care for the underserved, by assisting them with the application process in order to recruit and retain providers to practice in federally designated shortage areas and expand new and existing Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC’s).
In December 2021, the PCO completed and published a Primary Care Assessment for the state, which includes a section each on state characteristics that impact how people access primary care services, primary care priority populations, key indicators of primary care, and the overall primary care infrastructure.
The Connecticut Primary Care Office (PCO) is housed in the Community, Family Health, and Prevention Section, under the Public Health Initiatives Branch (PHI). Through a cooperative agreement with the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), the PCO works with health care providers and communities to improve access to care for the underserved, by recruiting and retaining providers to practice in federally designated shortage areas.
Health Professional Shortage Areas can be established for:
- Primary Medical Care
- Mental Health
Types of HPSA designations:
Geographic - indicates a shortage of primary medical care, dental and mental health providers in the total population
Population - indicates that the population in a specific area is underserved relevant to primary medical care, dental and mental health providers
Facility - community health centers, rural health clinics, federal and state correctional facilities, youth detention centers, state or county mental health hospitals, public or non-profit facilities
- Connecticut Loan Repayment Program
- Health Professional Shortage Areas
- J-1 Visas
- National Interest Waiver
- Workforce Development Reports
- Community Health Center Association of Connecticut (CHCACT)
- Federal loan repayment program: for registered nurses
- Federal loan repayment program: for health professionals
- HRSA-Bureau of Health Professions Shortage Designation Information
- Medicare Provider Incentive Program
- National Health Service Corps Home Page
- Office of Oral Health
- Recruitment and Retention Activities (RRA) Initiative for health professionals and sites
- State Office of Rural Health
For more information, please contact:
State of Connecticut Department of Public Health
Community, Family Health and Prevention Section