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Primary Care Recruitment and Retention Endeavor (PRIMECARRE)

The Primary Care Recruitment and Retention Endeavor (PRIMECARRE) was authorized by the Iowa Legislature in 1994 to strengthen the primary health care infrastructure in Iowa. PRIMECARRE allocations currently support the Iowa Loan Repayment Program, with matching federal and state funds.

The Iowa Loan Repayment Program

  • Offers two-year grants to primary care medical, dental, and mental health practitioners for use in repayment of educational loans.
  • Requires a two-year practice commitment in a public or non-profit site located in a health professional shortage area (HPSA).
    • HPSAs are designed to identify communities with diminishing health care services and provide them with opportunities to improve access to and availability of care. By identifying health professional shortage areas, communities become eligible for state and federal assistance to recruit and retain health professionals, access additional reimbursement dollars, and eventually alleviate the shortage. Primary care providers must practice in a primary care HPSA, dental providers in a dental HPSA, and mental health professionals in a mental health HPSA. To find out whether a particular area or facility is located in a HPSA, go to:
  • Requires the clinical practice site to utilize a discounted/sliding fee schedule and maintain a written policy available to patients. Sites accepting PRIMECARRE clinicians into their practices must agree to apply the discounted/sliding fee schedule equally, consistently, and on a continuous basis to all recipients of services in the site and/or location, without regard to the particular clinician that treats them.
  • Provides up to $50,000 total for a full-time, two-year service commitment and $25,000 total for a part-time, two-year service commitment to primary care physicians, psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, dentists, dental hygienists, physician assistants, registered nurse practitioners, certified nurse midwives, clinical social workers (LISW), and psychiatric nurse specialists.

PRIMECARRE applications are accepted annually through a Request for Proposal (RFP) process. Applications must be submitted in the Electronic Grant Management System at The notice of availability of funding is posted each fall on the Iowa Department of Public Health website under funding opportunities and Contracts begin each January with approximately 5-8 successful applicants.

Additional Resources

Health Care Recruitment and Retention Resources

  • 3R Net - National Rural Recruitment and Retention Network -- 3R Net is a job search web site devoted exclusively to rural health care recruitment. Candidates log in, select job titles of interest, and contact facilities directly. Hospitals and clinics log in, post job openings, and communicate with candidates.
  • For current information on the federal counterpart to the PRIMECARRE Loan Repayment Program, go to: National Health Service Corps Loan Repayment Program. Select "applications" in the left column, then scroll down then click on the NHSC Loan Repayment Application Information Bulletin.

Web Resources

  • Iowa College of Student Aid Commission --This state agency is dedicated to making the path to education and training beyond high school easier for Iowans. Grant and scholarship funds are available to assist students in paying educational expenses.
  • Community Vitality Center, ISU -- The Community Vitality Center represents university, agency, and community interests administered through Iowa State University Extension
  • Heartland Center for Leadership Development -- The Heartland Center is an independent, nonprofit organization providing leadership training, community planning, facilitation, evaluation, and curriculum development.

Contact Information

Doreen Chamberlin
PRIMECARRE Program Coordinator