Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs) and Medically Underserved Areas/Populations (MUA/P) Scoring Criteria
This webpage provided information that describes the scoring criteria for shortage designations.
Issued by: Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)
Issue Date: August 01, 2019
Shortage Designation Scoring Criteria
Shortage Designation Modernization Project
We modernized the shortage designation process with automated procedures and standardized data sets.
A Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA) is a geographic area, population, or facility with a shortage of primary care, dental, or mental health providers and services.
The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) and State Primary Care Offices (PCOs) work together using public, private, and state-provided data to determine when such a shortage qualifies for designation as a HPSA.
What are the Scoring Criteria?
Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA) & Automatic HPSA
We calculate HPSA scores based on discipline-specific methodology.
Three scoring criteria are common across all HPSA disciplines:
- Population to provider ratio
- Percentage of the population below 100% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL)
- Travel time to the nearest source of care (NSC) outside the HPSA designation
Review the HPSA scoring methodology, differentiated by discipline:
Primary Care HPSA Scoring
Primary Care HPSAs can receive a score between 0-25.
This is broad overview of the four components we use in Primary Care HPSA scoring:
The Infant Health Index evaluates both Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) and the rate of low birth weight (LBW). It awards points based on whichever of these indicators provide the higher score.
Dental Health HPSA Scoring
Dental Health HPSAs can receive a score between 0-26.
This is a broad overview of the four components used in Dental HPSA scoring:
Mental Health Scoring
Mental health HPSA can receive a score between 0-25.
This is a broad overview of the seven components used in Mental Health HPSA scoring:
Medically Underserved Area and Medically Underserved Population (MUA/P)
MUA/P score is dependent on the Index of Medical Underservice (IMU) calculated for the area or population proposed for designation.
Under the established criteria, an area or population with an IMU of 62.0 or below qualifies for designation as an MUA/P.
- Provider per 1,000 population ratio
- % Population at 100% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL)
- % Population age 65 and over
- Infant Mortality Rate
* HRSA must approve the state-developed criteria for Exceptional MUPs and Governors Designated Secretary Certified Shortage Areas for Rural Health Clinics.
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