Provider Resources for Underserved Communities

APA established a Presidential Task Force to tackle the mental health needs of individuals living in underserved areas. The main goal of the task force is to identify ways to increase access to psychiatric services in underserved areas around the United States. One of the products of the task force is the online clearinghouse of information developed and collected by the taskforce on topics relevant to mental health care in underserved areas.

Telepsychiatry Resources

One of the most effective ways to increase access to psychiatric care for individuals living in underserved areas.

Primary Care Collaborations and Training Projects

HRSA makes grants to organizations to improve and expand health care services for underserved people, focusing on the following program areas: Health Professions, HIV/AIDS, Maternal & Child Health, Office of the Administrator, Primary Health Care/Health Centers, Rural Health, Healthcare Systems, Organ Donation, and Clinician Recruitment.

Federal Manpower Shortage Areas

The Health and Rehabilitative Services (HRSA) health professional shortage area designations are based on general HPSA designation criteria, plus additional criteria and guidelines specific to mental health guidelines needed to determine locations that are underserved. All Federally Qualified Health Centers and those Rural Health Clinics that provide access to care regardless of ability to pay receive automatic facility HPSA designation.

J-1 Visas

J-1 visa waivers are one mechanism employers in underserved areas can use to attract psychiatrists. The program enables non-citizen medical graduates to pursue graduate medical education in the United States. The J-1 visa requires individuals who have completed their medical training to return to their home country or country of last origin for a period of at least two years before seeking entry back into the U.S. through a permanent visa. Waivers of this requirement may be granted.

National Health Service Corps

The NHSC is a Federal government program administered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), Bureau of Health Workforce that awards scholarships and loan repayment to primary care providers in NHSC-eligible disciplines. NHSC providers, in turn, commit to serving for at least two years at an NHSC-approved site located in a Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA). Many choose to continue serving at their sites beyond the initial NHSC service commitment.

Federally Qualified Health Centers

Federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) include all organizations receiving grants under Section 330 of the Public Health Service Act (PHS). FQHCs qualify for enhanced reimbursement from Medicare and Medicaid, as well as other benefits. FQHCs must serve an underserved area or population, offer a sliding fee scale, provide comprehensive services, have an ongoing quality assurance program, and have a governing board of directors. Certain tribal organizations and FQHC Look-Alikes (an organization that meets PHS Section 330 eligibility requirements, but does not receive grant funding) also may receive special Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement.

Rural Health

Resources on Diverse Populations and Disparities.

The Rural Health Care Program of the Universal Service Fund provides discounts to eligible rural healthcare providers, for telecommunication services and monthly internet service fees. The program's goal is to keep telecommunications affordable in rural areas.

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