The Primary Care Office (PCO) is located in the Office of Rural Health and Primary Care at the Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) and has been in existence for over twenty years. Mississippi is historically a medically underserved state with poor outcomes for core health indicators. Access to quality preventive and primary care services is central to improving the health status of Mississippians. The PCO is vital to ensuring that efforts are undertaken related to the availability of primary care services for residents of the state. The office collaborates with various state and federal organizations, coordinates activities in the state related to the delivery of primary care services, and helps facilitate the recruitment and retention of health care providers.
Program Activities and Responsibilities
The Primary Care Office is responsible for:
- Conducting a Statewide Primary Care Needs Assessment
- Management of the state's shortage area designations
- An annual assessment of primary care, dental and mental health providers
- Coordination of the site application process for the National Health Service Program for the state
- Administration of the Conrad State 30 J-1 Visa Waiver Program and National Interest Waiver Program
- Administration of the Appalachian Regional Commission "ARC" J-1 VISA Waiver Program
- Assisting facilities with recruitment and retention efforts for primary care health professionals
- The provision of technical assistance to entities interested in expanding access to primary care services
The Office has been designated to serve as a State Contact and clearinghouse for the J-1 Visa Waiver Programs. Mississippi J-1 Visa Waiver Policies and Procedures for the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) and Conrad State 30 Program are available.Available on-line are:
The PCO will administer the programs in a fair and consistent manner, as well as provide technical assistance to all interested in developing either the site predetermination or actual application for placement of a foreign-trained J-1 Visa Waiver provider.