About the Bureau of Primary Care and Rural Health

Mission and Priorities

The Bureau of Primary Care and Rural Health (the Bureau) within the Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) Office of Public Health, is dedicated to improving the health status of Louisiana residents in rural and underserved areas. The Bureau works proactively to build the capacity of community health systems to provide integrated, efficient and effective health care services. Technical assistance is also provided by the Bureau to communities, federally qualified health centers (FQHCs), physician practices, rural health clinics (RHCs), and small rural hospitals (SRHs). Through its work with organizations across Louisiana, the Bureau is committed to developing strong community partnerships and integrated primary health care services to reduce health disparities in the State.  Additionally, the Bureau works to support effective clinical practices, health care organizations, and the recruitment and retention of primary health care providers to help assure a sustainable health care system that provides access to all.  

Units and Services

The Bureau currently provides services through its Director's Office, State Office of Rural Health, Primary Care Office, Health Systems Development Unit, Operations Support Unit, and by providing Practice Management Consultation services. Together, the Units provide a continuum of services to establish, enhance, and sustain health care services for all Louisiana residents.

The programs within the Bureau's Health Systems Development (HSD) Unit provide strategic planning, needs assessments, group facilitation and resource development to create community support and to ensure the success of health care development projects. The HSD Unit administers the federal Office of Rural Health Grant, the Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility Grant (FLEX), the Small Rural Hospital Improvement Grant (SHIP), the State Office of Primary Care Grant, and the State Loan Repayment Program Grant. This Unit also certifies rural health clinics (RHCs); researches and recommends areas to be designated as health professional shortage areas (HPSAs); reviews and supports eligibility for placement of J-1 Visa Waiver practitioners; assists the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) and offers extensive technical assistance for developing federally qualified health centers (FQHCs). The HSD manages and administers state budget appropriations and budgets for federal grants; and any other ancillary budgets administered and/or received by the Bureau.

Through Practice Management Consultation, our team uses market analyses, feasibility studies, patient flow analysis, medical records review, Medicaid and insurance billing technical assistance and medical coding training to promote better financial performance, enhanced quality of care, and better patient health outcomes for primary care providers in rural and underserved areas.

Funding and Support

The Bureau operates with funding from the Bureau of Health Professions, the Bureau of Primary Care, and the Office of Rural Health Policy - all three of which are under the umbrella of the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 

The work of the Bureau depends on strong partnerships with state and federal partner organizations. Through collaboration and information sharing, the support services for primary and rural health care organizations enable communities to effectively develop sustainable health care solutions.For more information, contact:Melissa R. Martin, Director
Bureau of Primary Care and Rural Health
Louisiana Department of Health, Office of Public Health
Physical Address: 628 North 4th Street, 8th Floor, Baton Rouge, LA 70802
Mailing Address:   P.O. Box 3118, Baton Rouge, LA 70821-3118
Phone: (225) 342-9513
Fax:     (225) 342-5839