Primary Care

Primary Care Office Tools and Webinars

This webpage offers training and technical assistance tools and webinars for state/territorial primary care office (PCO) staff.

Tools and Resources

2018 Primary Care Office Training Academy Kick-off Meeting Slides
This compilation of slides is from the 2018 Primary Care Office Training Academy Kick-off Meeting, hosted through a partnership of ASTHO and NOSORH and generously supported by HRSA. Presenters addressed topics such as shortage designations, PCO responsibilities, managing and improving population health, and more.

Social Determinants of Health: A Quick Reference Guide for State Offices of Rural Health and State and Territorial Health Officials
This quick reference guide, written in collaboration with the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health, outlines some of the major social determinants of health, which research shows has a large impact on health status. The document is aimed at familiarizing state offices of rural health and state and territorial health officials with the impacts of social determinants of health on rural populations. The guide outlines key interplays between health status and the social issues of housing, transportation, education, and food insecurity, and provides targeted resources and state examples to help public health officials learn more and take action on these significant drivers of health status, outcomes, and costs.

Primary Care Office Directors Manual
The 2017 Primary Care Office Directors Manual provides essential information on the roles, responsibilities, and timelines for deliverables of PCO work. Although the Manual was created with newly-hired PCO staff in mind, its reference materials can also be of use to veteran PCO directors and staff. This update reflects a number of recent changes to PCO work and responsibilities, including new reporting processes and deadlines, new informational resources, and federal agency reorganizations.

Opportunities and Strategies to Strengthen Primary Care Office and Primary Care Association Collaboration
This issue brief on primary care office (PCO) and primary care association (PCA) collaboration describes several ways in which PCOs and PCAs can collaborate on issues of mutual interest and provides examples of successful collaborations. The document is aimed at states seeking to establish, improve, or sustain PCO/PCA relationships and lays out best and promising practices for helping states achieve those goals. It also presents concrete, actionable recommendations that can help establish a strong PCO/PCA partnership through examples of work currently underway in states.

Community-Based Health Needs Assessment Activities: Opportunities for Collaboration Between Public Health Departments and Rural Hospitals
This issue brief provides an overview of the requirements and standards for some rural hospitals and health departments to conduct community health needs assessments (CHNAs). These exercises can help stakeholder to identify and address health problems in rural communities. They are also an opportunity for health systems and health departments to collaborate on similar activities that may be mandated by separate authorities, and for them to leverage their requirements to become a means of addressing vexing population health challenges in rural areas. The issue briefs includes several state-specific examples of how these partnerships can be created and maintained at the state and local levels.

Workforce Needs Assessment Environmental Scan
This report documents the results of an environmental scan of best practices for developing and deploying such needs assessments. The scan includes current research and needs assessments conducted since the ACA was implemented and interviews from organizations in the field.

PCO and OMH Partnerships to Improve Programs' Effectiveness:
Case Study on Collaboration between State Primary Care Offices and State Offices of Minority Health
This brief highlights the interviews conducted by ASTHO with PCOs in four states that collaborated significantly with their State Offices of Minority Health (OMHs). It explores specific models of PCO/OMH collaboration as well as possible collaboration opportunities. It concludes with recommendations to PCOs for collaboration with OMHs, the importance of seeking collaboration, and identifies different types of collaboration used in these states. 

Case Study-Primary Care Offices and Health Workforce Incentive Programs
State Primary Care Offices (PCOs) operate within all state health departments and are supported with federal funding. They have operated under federal/state cooperative agreements for more than 20 years. PCOs are the state-level focal point for primary care safety net activities, with a focus on the federal National Health Service Corps (NHSC) and Health Center Program.

Preventing Infectious Diseases through Healthcare
ASTHO is working with its members and partners to examine how the healthcare system, evolving under health reform implementation, will influence the role of state health department infectious disease programs. This document represents a summary of collective thinking, a roadmap for moving forward, and an effort to complement work being done by CDC to develop a framework at the federal level.

Infectious Disease Integration of Public Health and Primary Care
ASTHO convened state health agency leadership to examine examples of integration between public health infectious disease programs and primary care, analyze key components that led to success, and use these examples to further define the unique role of public health in improving population health. This meeting report provides considerations for moving forward along the continuum of integration. It also highlights two promising channels for integration—workplaces and schools—and examples depicting integration successes.

Integrating Immunizations in Healthcare Settings
ASTHO convened a meeting with the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) to explore examples of successful public health and primary care integration efforts in the transforming U.S. health system. This report examines key points for consideration as public health engages in conversation with healthcare entities, using vaccine administration in obstetric practices as a model.

Health Workforce Technical Assistance Center
The Health Workforce Technical Assistance Center at the University at Albany, SUNY, School of Public Health offers assistance to states and organizations engaged in health workforce planning. The Center offers targeted assistance to state PCOs through virtual meetings, webinars, and online tools. Resources are designed to improve technical skills that support effective completion of HRSA funded activities, such as shortage area designations and primary care capacity assessments.


Statewide Rational Service Areas (Maine presentation slides and New York State presentation slides)
The PCO National Committee, with support from ASTHO and the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health, hosted a webinar on rational service areas (RSAs) to help PCOs understand how the analysis of access patterns in claims data can provide crucial information for RSA development. Eric Turner, John Snow, Inc., presented on Maine’s RSA process, and Robert Martiniano, Center for Health Workforce Studies, University at Albany, presented on New York State’s RSA Process. June 30, 2020.

Statewide Rational Service Areas – Part 2 (Arizona presentation slides and California presentation slides)
The second RSA webinar, hosted by the PCO National Committee, features presentations by Tracy Lenartz, Shortage Designations Contractor, Arizona Primary Care Office, and Hovik Khosrovia, California Primary Care Office Director. July 7, 2020.

Cooperative Agreement 101 (Presentation slides)
The National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health (NOSORH), in partnership with ASTHO, hosted a webinar to help PCOs understand the U68 cooperative agreement guides PCO work with HRSA. The webinar featured a presentation by Matthew Salaga, Division of Policy and Shortage Designation, Bureau of Health Workforce, HRSA, who discussed the major responsibilities, associated annual deliverables, and common budget activities within the cooperative agreement. October 10, 2019.

Rural Clinics' Role in Hypertension and Diabetes Management (Presentation slides)
ASTHO hosted a webinar in recognition of National Rural Health Day that focused on successful partnerships between state primary care offices and offices of rural health and state health officials. Marcella Bobinsky, acting director of public health services, and Alisa Druzba, administrator, Rural Health & Primary Care Section, New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services, presented on their joint effort to implement this initiative and improve chronic condition management in rural New Hampshire. November 16, 2016

Behavioral Health and Primary Care Integration in Rural and Underserved Areas (Presentation slides)
This webinar provided an overview of behavioral health and primary care integration. The call featured Alex Ross, Office of Planning, Evaluation, and Analysis, HRSA, and Nisha Patel, Federal Office of Rural Health Policy, HRSA. August 30, 2016

Patient-Centered Medical Homes in Rural and Underserved Areas (Presentation slides)
This webinar provided an overview of patient-centered medical homes, implementation in federally qualified health centers and rural health clinics, and specific challenges and opportunities that arise in rural and underserved areas. The webinar featured Jenney Samuelson, Department of Vermont Health Access, and Rachel Yalowich, The National Academy for State Health Policy. August 17, 2016

PCO Provider Recruitment and Retention (Presentation slides)
This webinar provided best practices for recruiting and retaining providers among health centers in rural area. It was led by Thomas Rauner, the PCO Director at the Nebraska Division of Public Health, and Mike Shimmens, the Executive Director of 3RNet, a national non-profit agency focused on matching healthcare professionals in rural areas across the U.S. June 14, 2016