Wisconsin Primary Care Programs - Access to Mental Health Services

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 programs and the 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 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 graduated from a foreign medical school and completed residency training in the U.S.
  • Provider Retention Toolkit and Webinars - Information to help health facilities strengthen their efforts to both recruit and retain 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 delivered in an area that 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 the requirements and benefits of these very competitive federal CHC grants, see Wisconsin Primary Care Program - Community Health Centers.

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

Last Revised: May 17, 2016