Health Care Providers & Shortage Areas
Under Medicare and Medicaid rules, safety net health care providers are required to provide health care services to uninsured and under-insured Vermonters and most provide services on a sliding scale fee.
These providers include: Federally Qualified Health Centers (FAQHC), CMS-Certified Rural Health Clinics (RHC), Free clinics, Planned Parenthood of Northern New England , and Critical Access Hospitals. Larger Vermont and regional hospitals offer similar services.
Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) and Service Areas
Eight FQHCs operate over 40 primary care and dental care sites in 11 of Vermont’s 14 counties. Mental and behavioral health care is also available on site or through local partners.
Rural Health Clinics
More than a dozen Rural Health Clinics (RHC) provide healthcare in the Northeast Kingdom, North Central and Southern Vermont. These private medical practices also accept patients with Medicare, Medicaid, private insurance or no insurance at all. Each offers a sliding fee scale for uninsured or under-insured patients. Most RHCs are associated with local hospitals.
Free Clinics – Vermont Coalition of Clinics for the Uninsured
A dozen free clinics around Vermont work with partners to help uninsured and under-insured get the medical care, dental care, medications and insurance coverage that they need when they need it. Several clinics have office hours when you can be seen by a doctor, nurse or other provider. All clinics will help you find out if you are eligible for Medicaid, Green Mountain Care or another health insurance plan.
The Vermont Department of Health gathers data on a variety of health care professionals including physicians, physician assistants and dentists. From this data, we calculate ratios of clinicians to population to deterimine if a particular geographic region qualifies for one or more shortage designations from the Federal government. These Federal shortage designations (HPSA) help health care facilities and practices recruit and retain clinicians and in some cases be reimbursed at a higher rate for Medicare and Medicaid patients.
Because of the significant investments that Vermont has made in health care infrastructure and workforce over several decades, very few areas in the state meet the strict designation criteria for Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSA) set by the Federal government and applied across the US. While health care access and capacity is considered fragile in many areas of Vermont, this situation limits our ability to qualify for Federal programs such as the National Health Service Corps, Nurse Loan Repayment Program, etc.
Primary Care HPSA
A defined geographic area with a low physician-to-population ratio, or other high needs factors. Must be updated every 3 years.
Dental Care HPSA
A defined geographic area with a low dentist-to-population, or other high needs factors. Must be updated every 3 years. We are currently awaiting Federal approval of a Dental shortage designation for the Newport area.
Mental Health HPSA
A defined geographic area with a low psychiatrist-to-population ratio, or other high needs factors. Must be updated every 3 years. There are currently no service areas in Vermont that qualify for this shortage designation. (Updated July 2012)
Governor's Certified Rural Shortage Area (GCRSA)
Allows an area experiencing unusual local conditions or barriers to health care access to develop or maintain a Rural Health Clinic (RHC). Recommended by Governor and community leaders. Must be updated every 3 years.
Medically Underserved Area (MUA)
A defined geographic area with a low provider-to-population ratio, or other high need factors.
Medically Underserved Populations (MUP)
A population group with barriers to healthcare access due to culture, language or economics.
Exceptional Medically Underserved Population (eMUP)
An area experiencing unusual local conditions or barriers to health care access. Recommended by the Governor and community leaders.
Rachel Green, MPH
Rural Health Program Coordinator
Vermont Department of Health
108 Cherry Street, PO Box 70
Burlington, VT 05401-0070