Rural Health Clinics

Rural Health Clinics (RHC) were established by Public Law 95-210, Rural Health Clinic Service Act in 1977. Rural Health Clinics serve to increase primary care access for Medicaid and Medicare patients in rural communities and must be located in a Health Professional Shortage Area and/or a Medically Underserved Area/Population. Clinics may be operated as a public, private, or non-profit. The advantage of becoming a certified Rural Health Clinic is to receive enhanced reimbursement rates for providing Medicaid and Medicare services in rural areas.

If you are interested in becoming certified as a Rural Health Clinic, please refer to the Health Facility Licensing, Certification and Resident Assessment. The clinic is required to use a team approach of physicians working with non-physician providers such as nurse practitioners (NP), physician assistants (PA), and certified nurse midwives (CNM) to provide services. The clinic must be staffed at least 50% of the time with a NP, PA, or CNM. RHCs are required to provide outpatient primary care services and basic laboratory services.

Governor’s Certified Shortage Areas

RHCs must be located in non-urbanized areas, as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau; however, there is no restriction on how closely RHCs can be located to one another. You can use RHIhub’s Am I Rural? tool as a first step to see if your location qualifies.

RHCs must also be located in a shortage or underserved area that has been designated within the last four years by the Health Resources and Services Administration. There are four types of shortage areas that qualify:

  • Geographic-Based Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs)
  • Population-Group (HPSAs)
  • Medically Underserved Areas (MUAs)
  • Governor’s Certified Shortage Area (GCSAs)

In Utah, all thirteen frontier counties are GCSAs as well as the other rural counties based on the approved methodology attached here. 

Rural Health Clinic Training Video Series

Wisconsin Office of Rural Health RHC Training Video Series


Program Documents

Rural Health Clinics Research Topics

Map of Utah’s 15 Rural Health Clinics