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Primary Care Office

Kootanifalls Introduction

The Montana Primary Care Office (PCO) is part of the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services and is funded by three HRSA Bureau's including the Bureau of Clinician Recruitment and Service, Bureau of Health Professions and the Bureau of Primary Health Care; of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The PCO works collaboratively with the Primary Care Association, the Region VIII Public Health Service in Denver, CO, and other entities to increase access to primary and preventative health care and to improve the health status of underserved and vulnerable populations.

The PCO focuses on matters impacting primary health care access in our state. Information is available on:

Maps of health professional shortage and medically underserved area/population designations

The Shortage Designation Branch in the HRSA Bureau of Health Professions National Center for Health Workforce Analysis develops shortage designation criteria and uses them to decide whether or not a geographic area or population group is a Health Professional Shortage Area or a Medically Underserved Area or Population. More than 34 federal programs depend on the shortage designation to determine eligibility or as a funding preference. About 20 percent of the U.S. population resides in primary medical care Health Professional Shortage Areas. For the Latest listing of Health Profession Shortage Areas (HPSA) and Medically Underserved Areas (Populations) visit the shortage designation website at: http://bhpr.hrsa.gov/shortage/.

For more information, contact
Julie Fife

(406) 444-3934

Provider recruitment & retention (especially in shortage areas) Sliding Fee Scale example

Sliding Fee Scale Example

Other Links

Current National Health Service Corps (NHSC) Sites and number of active clincians serving in Montana

As of February 2013 there were 366 National Health Service Corps (NHSC) approved sites in Montana with 156.5 NHSC providers serving. A complete listing of all NHSC sites can be located on the HRSA Geospatial Data warehouse. You may also contact Julie Fife at (406) 444-3934 to locate a site near you.

Map NHCS Sites

For a larger image click here

J-1 Physicians Information Sheet

Background: J-1 Physicians, also known as Foreign Medical Graduates (FMGs) or International Medical Graduates (IMGs) are physicians from other countries who have sought and received a J-1 exchange visitor visa. The visa allows holders to remain in the U.S. until their studies are completed. At the completion of their studies they may stay in the country to practice in a federally designated health professional shortage area (HPSA) or Medically Underserved Area (MUA) if sponsored by an interested U.S. government agency. State government agencies may also sponsor J-1 physician waiver requests. Montana participates in the Conrad 30 J-1 Visa Waiver program; waiver approval is dependent on an identified job offer, for a minimum of 40 hours per week for 3 years. J-1 Provider Waiver requests: Copies of Montana's J-1 Visa Waiver Policy can be obtained by contacting Ann Buss at 406-444-4119 or Abuss@mt.gov


Shortage designated areas in Montana: Much of Montana is designated as a HPSA or a MUA. The list of HPSAs is included in the Federal Register. A list of federally designated shortage areas in Montana is available from the Bureau of Primary Health Care (301) 594-0816 or the Montana Primary Care website Shortage Designation Tab or by calling the Montana Primary Care office (406)444-3934.

Practice Opportunities in Montana: Most sites are private practice, owned by the provider or a local facility. Practices in Montana tend to be very small, with only a few practices of 10 or more providers. Many have only one or two providers. The larger practices are located in non-shortage designated areas. A list of current physician vacancies in Montana, can be obtained on the web at www.3rnet.org.

Montana NHSC State Loan Repayment Program

This program provides a loan repayment option for providers unable to receive NHSC funding and who have qualified educational loans. The grant provides loan repayment of up to $15,000 per year for two years for:

  • Physician (MD/DO) with the following specialty
    • Internal Medicine
    • Geriatrics
    • Pediatrics
    • Psychiatry
    • Obstetrics/Gynecology
    • Family Medicine (Osteopathic General Practice)
  • Physician Assistant or Nurse Practitioner with the following specialty
    • Adult
    • Psychiatry/ mental health
    • Family
    • Geriatrics
    • Pediatrics
    • Women’s health
  • Primary Care Registered Nurse
  • Certified Nurse Midwife
  • Psychiatrist (MD/DO)
  • Psychiatric Nurse Specialist
  • Clinical or Counseling Psychologist
  • Licensed Professional Counselor
  • Licensed Clinical Social Worker
  • Marriage and Family Therapist
  • Dentist (DDS/DMD)
  • Registered Dental Hygienist       

Application for the Montana NHSC State Loan Repayment

Applications will be accepted beginning October 1, 2014. Application review will begin December 15, 2014. Reviews will occur monthly thereafter until funds are no longer available. Payments will be issued after July 1, 2015.

Mail completed applications to:
Montana Primary Care Office
1400 Broadway, PO Box 202951
Helena, MT 59620-2951

Contact Information:

Questions regarding eligible areas can be directed to:
Julie Fife
(406) 444-3934
jfife@mt.gov

The Geographic Eligibility Advisor for Medicare HPSA Bonus Payments

National Health Service Corps Job Opportunities

Montana Connections FIND Health Care Jobs in Montana using the 3rnet - Make a life....not just a living

For additional information contact:

1400 E Broadway, A116
PO Box 202951
Helena, MT 59620
E-mail: jfife@mt.gov
Telephone: (406) 444-3934