Update: Health Profession Shortage Areas

The Health Resources Services Administration Negotiated Rulemaking Committee continued work this week in Washington DC. The Committee’s purpose is to reconsider how Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSA) and Medically Underserved Areas (MUA) are designated for the purposes of Federal programs. Today, new models were identified for HPSAs and MUA/Ps but much, much work remains to be done. These models can now be further tested and modified to capture underserved areas as the committee deems appropriate.  Simply stated, the committee is attempting to move forward with simple, easy to understand models, and has rejected consideration of more complicated models with more extensive factors to consider. It is unfortunate, that as presented for consideration by the committee, ALL of these models currently appear to disproportionately impact rural frontier areas in a negative manner.  However, there is consensus that these models will be reviewed and modified to adequately represent underserved populations in rural America prior to final adoption by the committee. Again, much work still to be done.  In fact, the committee discussed the potential of a further extension of the committee's work.