Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA)

A Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA) means any of the following which has a shortage of health professionals: (a) an urban or rural area which is a rational service area for the delivery of health services, (b) a population group, or (c) a public or nonprofit private medical facility.  HPSAs are divided into three major categories according to the type of health professional shortage: primary care, dental or mental health HPSAs.  The programs that use HPSA designations are the National Health Service Corps (NHSC), Scholarship and Loan Repayment programs, and the Rural Health Clinic Certification Program. HPSA provides scoring preferences for 27 Health Resource Services Admin/Bureau of Health Professions Title VII-VIII grants.  The Area Health Education Center (AHEC) Program gives special consideration to centers that serve HPSAs with higher percentages of training experience in HPSAs.  The Division of Shortage Designation of the Bureau of Health Professions is responsible for determining designations of HPSAs. To determine if your area is a HPSA, click on this link


Sources: Public Health Service, HHS, 42 CFR Part 5 as of January 18, 1996; Bureau of Primary Health Care, Guidelines for MUA/MUP Designation, June 12, 1995; Richard C. Lee, Current Approaches to Shortage Area Designation, The Journal of Rural Health, Vol. 7 (4) Supp. 1991; Beth Giesting, Outline of Federal Designations for Areas, Populations, and Providers, (part of memo to Representative Kahikina, dated January 23, 1996, Honolulu); National Association of County Health Officials, National Health Service Corps; Applying for Corps Personnel, January 17, 1992.