Wisconsin Primary Care Programs
Rural Health Clinics
Rural health clinics (RHC) are facilities that meet the requirements of the
federal Medicare RHC program and are intended to increase access to
primary and preventive health care in rural areas. As federally certified RHCs, facilities must:
- Be a non-profit or for-profit clinic
- Be located in a rural (non-urban) area and in federally designated
shortage area (HPSA, MUA or Governor’s Shortage Area)
- Provide routine outpatient primary care (diagnostic, therapeutic, and
- Provide first response services for common serious injuries and acute
- Have a nurse practitioner, physician assistant or nurse midwife on-site and
available to see patients 50% of the time the clinic is open for
- Have arrangements with one or more hospitals to provide other medically
- Have a quality improvement program in place
As of March 2012, there were 54 rural health clinics in Wisconsin.
Funding Support: Eligible for cost-based reimbursement for a defined set of
outpatient services provided to patients on Medicare and Medicaid; revenue
from billing private insurance.
Resources for communities or facilities interested in developing a Rural Health Clinic:
Rural Health Clinic Association (Exit DHS) –
A membership organization with
information and web links for development, federal rules and
guidelines, and conferences.
Assistance Center (Exit DHS) - A grant-supported non-profit organization
with information and web links on RHCs, and the “Am I Rural?” tool
to see if location meets federal non-urban requirement for Medicare RHC certification.
for Medicare & Medicaid – Rural Health Center (Exit DHS) -
Federal site with detailed federal information for RHCs.
Division of Quality Assurance – State program that conducts
surveys for RHC certification, has information for RHCs, and maintains
official list of certified RHCs.
- Health Professional Shortage Area or Medically Underserved Area/Population
- Consultants for RHC development and management are available
Association of RHCs (Exit DHS) – see consultants and vendors.
- The Wisconsin Primary Care Office can also share the names of several in-state consultants
(call the PCO at 608-267-7121).
October 11, 2012