Eligible healthcare facilities can apply to become National Health Service Corps (NHSC)-approved sites.
NHSC-approved sites provide outpatient, primary health care services to people in Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs).
Behavioral and mental health providers are required to practice in a community-based setting that provides access to comprehensive mental and behavioral health services. NHSC sites that do not offer all required services must demonstrate a formal affiliation with a facility that provides these services.
How can you benefit from becoming an NHSC site?
As an NHSC-approved site, we can assist you in your efforts to hire, recruit, and retain clinicians.
When do site application cycles open?
We open a new site application cycle every year for sites we have not previously approved.
How long is the application cycle?
In a typical cycle, you have six to eight weeks to submit your site application.
What should you do before you apply?
- Read our Site Reference Guide (PDF - 878 KB). It details everything we expect of NHSC-approved sites.
- Gather or create all required documentation.
- Create an account or log into the BHW Customer Service Portal.
What are the sections of the application?
The NHSC Site Application contains six sections. You must complete all of them to apply. Contact your state primary care office (state PCO) if you have questions.
Note: If your organization has multiple sites in multiple Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs), you must submit a separate application for each location. We review/approve each individually.
- If your site does not pass the pre-screening portion, you’ll be unable to continue with the rest of the application.
- Refer to the Eligibility Requirements and Qualification Factors (PDF - 878 KB) section in the NHSC Site Reference Guide.
- Enter your site’s name, mailing and email addresses, and other contact information.
- Points of Contact (POCs)
- We require each site (except: solo private practices) to list two site contacts.
- At least one POC must be serving in each of the following NHSC roles:
- Personnel Verifier, and
- For a POC to submit a site application, they must:
- Own, oversee, or manage a significant portion of their organization; and
- Have the ability to answer questions about organization policies and operating procedures.
- Select the appropriate primary care services you provide at your site.
- Address questions regarding your:
- Sliding Fee Discount Program (PDF - 878 KB)
- Accepted insurance
- Recruitment and retention plan (refer to Required Documents section)
- Determine your appropriate HPSA type based on services provided.
- Primary care
- Dental health
- Mental/behavioral health
- Enter in your suggested HPSA score based on verified information found in HPSA Find.
- The applicant site must have a HPSA designation as of the first day of the NHSC Site Application Cycle.
- NHSC and state PCO staff will verify this information and add all applicable HPSA IDs to the application during the review process.
- We do not require you to submit this information to submit an application – however, we recommend you consult with your state PCO to verify your HPSA ID and score.
Upload the following required documents. If a required document/item is missing, we'll consider the application incomplete and we may not approve it.
- Policies on Non-Discrimination. Upload a copy of the site’s policies on non-discrimination of patients based upon race, color, sex, national origin, disability, religion, age, sexual orientation, or gender identity.
- Sliding Fee Discount Program Documents. Upload the following:
- Policy on the Sliding Fee Discount Program:
- Applies to all residents of your site’s HPSA(s)
- Includes the following information:
- Definitions of income and family size
- Patient eligibility procedures
- Frequency of re-evaluation of eligibility
- Advertisement of the sliding fee discount program to the patient population
- Nominal charge, if applicable
- Collections policy, if applicable
- Sliding Fee Schedule;
- Based on most current Federal Poverty Guidelines (FPG)
- It is calculated based on Family Size/Income
- Goes up to at least 200% of FPG
- Offers full discount for families with income at or below 100% of FPG
- Adjust fees based on family size and income for families with incomes above 100% and at/below 200% of the FPG.
- Patient Application for Sliding Fee Discount Program
- Policy on the Sliding Fee Discount Program:
- Posted Signage Notifying Patients about the Sliding Fee Discount Program
- If Sliding Fee Discount Program doesn't apply to your site, you must provide documentation on letterhead explaining that you provide services free of charge and you don't deny individuals service because of inability to pay.
- Proof of Access to Ancillary, Inpatient and Specialty Care. Upload proof of referral arrangements not available on-site.
- Acceptable documents include:
- Signed Memorandums of Understanding (MOU)
- Signed Memorandums of Agreement (MOA)
- Signed contracts with ancillary, inpatient, and specialty facilities
- If formal referral arrangements do not exist, the applicant site should provide a dated and signed description of how it refers patients to ancillary, inpatient, and specialty care.
- Acceptable documents include:
- NHSC Site Data Tables. Upload completed NHSC Site Data Tables (PDF – 878 KB) with information on the individual site location.
- Includes data from the previous six continuous months
- Demonstrates site’s sound fiscal management policies
- NHSC Comprehensive Behavioral Health Services Checklist - Review the Requirements for Primary Behavioral and Mental Health Sites (PDF - 878 KB) in the Site Reference Guide. Required for sites that provide behavioral health services.
- Substance Use Disorder (SUD) Documentation. Facilities providing opioid treatment and/or SUD treatment must provide the following documentation:
- Opioid Treatment Program (OTP): SAMHSA OTP certificate; OR
- Office-based opioid treatment (OBOT): documentation of services and MAT attestation letter describing size of MAT patient panel for last 6 months; OR
- Non-opioid outpatient SUD facilities: documentation of services.
- Clinician Recruitment and Retention Plan. The document must clearly state the policies and processes to recruit and maintain clinical staffing levels needed to appropriately serve the community
Note: You must submit these documents before you submit the application.
Review and certify your compliance with the NHSC Site Agreement (PDF - 878 KB).
Can you make edits to your application?
You can make edits before you submit your application. In fact, we encourage you to review your application before you submit it to us. In doing so, you can make edits, upload new documents--or, even cancel your application.
What edits can you make after the application cycle closes?
None. You may not make changes to your NHSC Site Application after you submit your application.
What happens after you apply?
After you submit your application, your state’s primary care office (PCO) and BHW’s Division of Regional Operations (DRO) will review and evaluate it.
DRO makes the final decision on whether to approve your NHSC Site Application.
How long does it take us to process your application?
Once you submit your application, we typically process it within six to eight weeks.
Note: It may take longer due to application volume, pre-approval site visit requirements, and the quality of the information you submitted.
How do we determine whether to approve your site?
NHSC approval of a site is based on a site’s ability to meet the eligibility criteria set forth in the NHSC Site Reference Guide and Site Agreement, as evaluated by the state PCO and DRO. An application may be disapproved if it does not meet NHSC site eligibility requirements, or is incomplete or contains illegible documents.
How will you find out if we approved your site?
We notify you through the BHW Customer Service Portal.
We will send you information on how to post job positions on the Health Workforce Connector.
Does the approval period expire?
Yes, with the exception of eligible auto-approved NHSC sites.
If we approve your application, it is valid for three years from the date we approve it.
However, your site must remain in a HPSA. And, it must continue to meet the NHSC eligibility requirements and qualification factors throughout the approval period.