Wisconsin Primary Care Programs - Mental Health Access

A variety of federal and state programs can help increase access to mental health services in rural and urban communities that have shortages of providers.

Shortage Designations - Areas that are federally designated as having shortages of mental health providers, can be eligible for federal and state resources to help recruit and retain mental health clinicians in these underserved communities.

Federal and State student loan repayment programs - The National Health Service Corps Loan Repayment and Scholarship program and Wisconsin Health Professions Loan Assistance Program can help health facilities in designated shortage areas to recruit and retain psychiatrists and certain other mental health clinicians.

J-1 Visa Waiver Program - Health Facilities that are located in or that serve designated mental health shortage areas can use the J-1 visa waiver program to recruit a psychiatrist for very hard-to-fill vacancies. J-1 visa waiver physicians/psychiatrists went to a foreign medical school and completed their residency training in the U.S.

Provider Retention Toolkit and Webinars - Information to help health facilities strengthen their efforts to both recruit and retain their clinicians (primary care, dental and mental health).

Certified Rural Health Clinic - Rural Health Clinics that are certified by the federal Centers for Medicare/Medicaid Services (CMS) are eligible for enhanced Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement for covered services, which include billable mental health services by a psychiatrist, clinical psychologist and/or clinical social worker.

Medicare HPSA bonus - Federal Medicare can provide a 10% bonus payment for covered psychiatrist services which are delivered in an area which has a geographic mental health Health Professional Shortage Area designation.

Community Health Center Program - Community Health Centers (CHCs) are facilities that meet the requirements of the federal CHC Program and provide access to primary, dental and mental health care for low-income and uninsured populations. For more information on requirements and benefits of these very competitive federal CHC grants, go to:

FOR CONSUMERS - information about low-cost clinics is available at the following web links:

DHS ForwardHealth

DHS Division of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services

Last Revised: January 5, 2015