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Shortage Designation Program

Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSA)

Health Professional Shortage Areas?

Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSA) are federal designations that apply to areas, population groups or facilities in which there are unmet health care needs. Designations help prioritize limited federal resources to the areas that need them most. The criteria and guidelines for HPSA Designations are determined by Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).

Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs) may be designated as having a shortage of:

There are four types of HPSA designations:

  • Geographic: based on the ratio between the number of full-time equivalent (FTE) clinical providers and the patient population within a given area. This designation indicates that all individuals, who are not living in a detention facility, in the area of designation, have insufficient access to care.
  • Population: This designation indicates that a subpopulation of individuals living in the area of designation has insufficient access to care. Population groups include those below 200% of federal poverty level, groups on Medicaid, migrant farm workers, tribal or homeless populations, among others.
  • Facility: This designation indicates that individuals served by a specific health facility have insufficient access to care. The types of facilities that can be designated include federal and state correctional institutions, public and nonprofit healthcare facilities, Indian Health Service facilities and state and county mental hospitals.
  • Automatic HPSA: Certain types of facilities and population groups receive an automatic HPSA designation from HRSA.

Additional criteria and guidelines for HPSA designation can be found at the HRSA Shortage Designation Branch.

Benefits of Designation

Important Links