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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 basic lab)
  • Provide first response services for common serious injuries and acute illnesses
  • 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 services
  • Have arrangements with one or more hospitals to provide other medically necessary services
  • 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:

Last revised January 5, 2023