Bureau of Health Systems Development

Shortage Designation Program

Health Professional Shortage Areas?

Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA) designations are assigned by the federal government to prioritize the distribution of resources to meet health care needs and can be used by health care facilities to establish a need for additional health care professionals. This need is evaluated based on a complex set of statistical criteria as well as both population demographics and geographic factors. The process is administered by the Health Resources and Services Administration's (HRSA) Shortage Designation Branch.

Shortage areas can fall under either the Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSA) or Medically Underserved Areas/Populations (MUA/P) designations.

The ADHS Shortage Designation Program (SDP) works to increase the number of providers in underserved areas throughout Arizona, by applying for federal HPSA and MUA/P designations for all eligible areas. The SDP also provides technical assistance to facilities and providers seeking recognition as a federally designated Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA) for Primary Care, Dental, and Mental Health disciplines or Medically Underserved Area/Medically Underserved Population (MUA/P). SDP provides data analysis services and works as a liaison between the federal government and the provider or facility applying for HPSA or MUA/MUP status.

The SDP also collects and houses a significant amount of data.

  • The Designations Mapper is an interactive map that provides a wealth of current data on several health indicators at various geographic levels.
  • Numerous reports and statistical profiles are available through the SDP to support primary care expansion throughout the state.

The SDP is funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) and is the state's liaison to HRSA's Shortage Designation Branch (SDB). The program was authorized by Congress as the Emergency Health Personnel Act of 1970 under the U.S. Public Health Service Act.

Step-by-Step Instructions to Determine if a Site is in a HPSA or MUA/PPDF