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Additional Topics > Underserved Areas

UNDERSERVED AREAS IN THE UNITED STATES

The Health Resources and Services Administration Shortage Designation Branch of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services develops shortage designation criteria and uses them to decide whether or not a geographic area, population group or facility is a Health Professional Shortage Area or a Medically Underserved Area or Population.

Health Professional Shortage Areas

HPSAs may be designated as having a shortage of primary medical care, dental or mental health providers. They may be urban or rural areas, population groups or medical or other public facilities.

As of September 30, 2009, there are:

  • 6,204 Primary Care HPSAs with 65 million people living in them. It would take 16,643 practitioners to meet their need for primary care providers (a population to practitioner ratio of 2,000:1.

  • 4,230 Dental HPSAs with 49 million people living in them. It would take 9,642 practitioners to meet their need for dental providers (a population to practitioner ratio of 3,000:1).

  • 3,291 Mental Health HPSAs with 80 million people living in them. It would take 5,338 practitioners to meet their need for mental health providers (a population to practitioner ratio of 10,000:1).

Approximately 20% of the U.S. population resides in a HPSA.

To determine if a particular State/County/Address is in a HPSA, please proceed to the following weblink:

www.hpsafind.hrsa.gov

Medically Underserved Areas/Populations

Medically Underserved Areas (MUA) may be a whole county or a group of contiguous counties, a group of county or civil divisions or a group of urban census tracts in which residents have a shortage of personal health services.  Medically Underserved Populations (MUPs) may include groups of persons who face economic, cultural or linguistic barriers to health care.

MUAs/MUPs may be a whole county or a group of contiguous counties, a group of county or civil divisions or a group of urban census tracts in which residents have a shortage of personal health services. MUAs are determined by 4 criteria;

  • Ratio of primary medical care physicians per 1,000 population.

  • Infant mortality rate.

  • Percentage of the population with incomes below the poverty level.

  • Percentage of the population age 65 or over.

To determine if a particular State/County/Address may be considered MUA/MUP, please proceed to the following weblink:

www.muafind.hrsa.gov/

PHYSICIAN SCARCITY AREAS (PSA) - SPECIALISTS

Physician Scarcity Areas (PSA) are of importance to us only for purposes of determining whether a specialist physician is eligible to file for National Interest Waiver (NIW) Green Card. To do so, his/her work location must be in a PSA. To determine if the work location is in a PSA, please proceed to the following weblink:

www.cms.hhs.gov

 

 

 

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