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Health Centers: America's Primary  Care Safety Net Reflection on Success, 2002-2005 Health Resources & Services Administration US Department of Health and Human Services

Sustaining the Connections

Critical Partners in Achieving the Mission

To assist HRSA funded health centers in increasing access to comprehensive, culturally competent, quality primary health care services, HRSA has developed partnerships with State, regional, and national organizations to provide:

  • Training and technical assistance.
  • Operational and administrative support.
  • Program development and analysis.

National and State-level partners play a key role in HRSA's continuing efforts to make more quality health care available to those who need it most. These partners, supported through cooperative agreements, bring a great deal of experience and knowledge to the challenge of serving low-income and underserved people. Because they engage with a variety of safety net organizations throughout the country at the national and State levels, they are well positioned to work with providers, policy makers, program administrators, and communities to advance the goal of improving the health of the Nation's underserved communities and vulnerable populations.

Our national and State partners are involved in a wide spectrum of issues that impact health centers ranging from primary care expansion, community development, workforce development, health information technology, State-based health care reform, Medicaid waivers, evidence based medicine, and outreach. These partners are key in enhancing administrative operations as well as the quality and performance improvement of health centers.

The work done through these vital partners helps HRSA make the best use of its Federal investment throughout the country, avoid duplication of effort, and better target resources to those most in need.

Primary Care Associations

Primary Care Associations (PCAs) are private, nonprofit organizations whose members represent HRSA supported health centers and other safety-net providers. HRSA supports 52 PCAs across the country that:

  • Provide training and technical assistance to health centers and other safety-net providers;
  • Plan for the growth of health centers in their State; and
  • Enhance the quality of care provided by health centers.

Primary Care Offices

State Primary Care Offices (PCOs) assist in the coordination of local, State, territorial, and Federal resources that contribute to improving primary care service delivery and workforce availability to meet the needs of underserved populations. Fifty-two PCOs are supported in their work by health centers, professional organizations, public and private entities, and other community-based providers of comprehensive primary care.

The PCOs' core activities include:

  • Assessing the need for health care and for primary care providers in their State,
  • Applying to have parts of the State designated as health professional shortage areas, and
  • Recruiting and retaining providers to work in underserved areas.

National Cooperative Agreements

HRSA also supports national training and technical assistance through 18 National Cooperative Agreements (NCAs). NCAs are important partners in enabling HRSA to achieve its mission because they are uniquely positioned to work nationally with providers, policy makers, program administrators, and communities to improve the health of underserved communities and vulnerable populations. NCAs are organizations that represent crucial connections with targeted stakeholders: organizations focused on health centers issues at both the national and State levels as well as organizations focused on special populations and programs.

Next page > Unprecedented Growth: Health Center Expansion 2002-2007

Health center entrance
Who are HRSA's Health Center Partners?

In 2007, HRSA's national cooperative agreement partners included the following organizations.

  • Association of State and Territorial Health Officials
  • Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations
  • Capital Link, Inc.
  • Farmworker Health Services, Inc.
  • Farmworker Justice Fund, Inc.
  • Institute for Healthcare Improvement
  • Migrant Clinicians Network, Inc.
  • Migrant Health Promotion
  • National Academy for State Health Policy
  • National Assembly on School-Based Health Care
  • National Association of Community Health Centers, Inc.
  • National Association of County and City Health Officials
  • National Center for Farmworker Health, Inc.
  • National Center for Health Care for Public Housing Residents
  • National Conference of State Legislatures
  • National Health Care for the Homeless Council
  • National Network for Oral Health Care Access
  • National Rural Health Association