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ISDH Home > Information for Health Professionals > Reference Materials Reference Materials

Health Professional Shortage Area & Medically Underserved Area Designations

Health professional shortage areas (HPSAs) and medically underserved areas (MUAs), established under the U.S. Public Health Service Act, are federal designations of a geographic area (usually a county or a collection of townships or census tracts) which meet the criteria as needing additional primary health care services. Designation as a HPSA or MUA is based on the availability of health professional resources within a rational service area. The definition of a rational service area is usually based on a thirty-minute travel time. Other factors considered in the designation process are the availability of primary care resources in contiguous areas and the presence of unusually high need, such as high infant mortality rate or high poverty rate. HPSA designations usually apply to geographic areas, but may apply to population groups and facilities. The Division of Shortage Designation, Bureau of Primary Care, Health Resources and Services Administration, Department of Health and Human Services is responsible for the designation process. The Indiana State Department of Health, Office of Primary Care is responsible for the submission of HPSA and MUA designation requests and updates to the Division of Shortage Designation.

Federal opportunities available to Health Professional Shortage Areas include: National Health Service Corps Scholarship and Loan Repayment Programs, Rural Health Clinic Act, Medicare Incentive Payments for Physician's services furnished in HPSAs, and Area Health Education Center Program.

Federal opportunities available to Medically Underserved Areas/Medically Underserved Populations include:

  • Community Health Center (CHC) grants for the planning, development, or operation of community health centers under section 330 of the Public Health Service Act;
  • Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) Look alikes which meet the definition of community health center contained in Section 330 of the Public Health Service Act, but are not funded under that section, but are eligible for certification as FQHC and thus for cost-based reimbursement of services to Medicaid-eligible, and;
  • Rural Health Clinics (RHCs) serving rural areas designated as MUAs are eligible for certification as RHCs by the Health Care Financing Administration under the authority of the Rural Health Clinics Services Act.

More information:

Primary Care Health Professional Shortage Areas Adobe PDF Document
Primary Care Health Professional Shortage Areas - MAP (pdf) Adobe PDF Document

Dental Health Professional Shortage Areas Adobe PDF Document
Dental Health Professional Shortage Areas - MAP (pdf) Adobe PDF Document

Mental Health Professional Shortage Areas Adobe PDF Document
Mental Health Professional Shortage Areas - MAP (pdf) Adobe PDF Document

Medically Underserved Areas Adobe PDF Document
Medically Underserved Areas - MAP (pdf) Adobe PDF Document

HPSA/MUA Introduction Microsoft Powerpoint presentation (.ppt)
HPSA/MUA Process Microsoft Powerpoint presentation (.ppt)
Community Involvement Microsoft Powerpoint presentation (.ppt)
National Health Service Corps Microsoft Powerpoint presentation (.ppt)