Health Professional Shortage Areas

The most important piece of advice we can give about HPSAs?

Know who your state Primary Care Office (PCO) contact is! The PCO can help you determine what HPSAs apply to your facility and explain what information goes into calculating the HPSA score. You can find a full list of PCOs here: https://bhw.hrsa.gov/shortage-designation/hpsa/primary-care-offices

What is a HPSA?

HPSAs are a scoring system used to determine the highest areas of need for primary care, dental, and mental health services.

HPSAs are federal designations determined through data submitted by a state’s Primary Care Office (PCO). There is one PCO in every state. You can find a list of all the PCOs here: https://bhw.hrsa.gov/shortage-designation/hpsa/primary-care-offices

HPSAs are designated using a federally mandated scoring system. A ‘HPSA score’ is a number that can change over time and ranges from 1-25 for primary care and mental health HPSAs and 1-26 for dental HPSAs. The higher the HPSA score, the greater the need.

To learn more about HPSAs

How can you find out if your area or facility has a HPSA designation?

  • HRSA has a HPSA designation search tool that can be found here: https://data.hrsa.gov/
  • or here: http://hpsafind.hrsa.gov/. When you follow either of these links, search by county, not by facility address. The facility/auto HPSA designations won’t show up when you search by address, only by county.

Types of HPSAs

There are three different types of HPSAs:

  • Facility
  • Population
  • Geographic

There are three different specialties covered by HPSAs:

  • Primary Care
  • Mental Health
  • Dental

What should you, a health care employer, know about HPSAs?

  • Many loan repayment and scholarship programs use HPSAs to determine areas eligible for service. One example of this is the National Health Service Corps.
  • All Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) and FQHC-look-a-likes are automatically designated with a facility- specific HPSA by service line.
  • HPSA scores can change!
  • Know who your state PCO contact is: http://bhpr.hrsa.gov/shortage/hpsas/primarycareoffices.html
  • One facility can have multiple types of HPSAs depending on their scope of services. For example, a facility can be designated as a mental health HPSA and a dental HPSA.
  • Facilities can also have more than one HPSA score. For example, a facility can have their facility score and a geographic or population HPSA score for primary care. For programs that use HPSA scores, facilities should always use the highest HPSA score available.
  • Facilities can request their HPSA score to be reviewed by the PCO.
  • Certified Rural Health Clinics are eligible to apply for a facility HPSA score if they attest that they meet certain requirements.
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