What is a Rural Health Clinic?
Rural Health Clinics (RHCs) were established by Public Law 95-210, the Rural Health Clinic Service Act, in 1977. The purpose of RHCs is to increase primary care services for Medicaid and Medicare patients in rural communities. RHCs ownership/governance structure can operate as public, private, or non-profit. The primary requirements to obtain RHC status include:
- The clinic is not located in an "Urbanized Area.” To learn more about how this is defined and determined in Oregon please see our Rural Definitions Resources.
- The clinic is located in an area that has a shortage of medical services and/or providers. To learn more about how this is defined and determined in Oregon please see our Health Care Shortage Resources.
- The clinic must employ a Nurse Practitioner (NP) or Physician Assistant (PA).
- Have a NP, PA, or Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM) working at the clinic at least 50 percent of the time the clinic operates.
What are the benefits of Rural Health Clinic status?
RHCs receive special Medicare and Medicaid rates. The RHC rate benefit can vary from clinic to clinic depending on the type of services that the clinic provides and the payer mix of the patient population. Depending on the mix of Medicare and Medicaid patients you serve in your practice, there may be a financial benefit to RHC status. A financial analysis is essential to determine if it makes sense for your clinic. Becoming an RHC.
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services RHC Fact Sheet: A publication which outlines the RHC program including certification requirements, rules of operation and services a clinic must provide as a RHC.
Oregon Federally Certified Rural Health Clinics Report. A publication by the Oregon Office of Rural Health (2011)
Additional information on the certification process and ongoing operation of an RHC is available at RHC Technical Assistance & Resources.
Winding Waters: Becoming a Community Health Center is a short film about the benefits one rural clinic found to becoming a Community Health Center.
The not-for-profit film was produced and directed by filmmaker Carl
Davis, who, after growing up on a small farm in Northern California and
being the son of a nurse at the small local hospital, has had a long
standing interest in rural healthcare, and the critical need for medical
providers in small communities. Carl Can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rural Health Clinic Grant Awards
To determine if your location meets RHC qualifications:
Stacie Rothwell, Program Manager | email@example.com | 971-235-3978 | toll-free 866-674-4376.
For RHC certification application forms and guidance:
John Pilmer, Client Care Compliance Specialist at the Health Care Licensure and Certification Department | (971) 673-0540 | firstname.lastname@example.org