HPSA Designation Criteria,
Guidelines & Process
|Designation Criteria and Guidelines
Health Professional Shortage Area designations are
based on general HPSA designation criteria, plus additional
criteria and guidelines specific to each of the three
types of designations:
All Federally Qualified Health Centers and those Rural Health Clinics that provide access to care regardless of ability to pay receive automatic facility HPSA designation.
Each year, the U.S. Department of Health and Human
Services prepares listings of designated HPSAs and
areas that need to be updated to maintain their designation.
The listings are sent to each State Primary Care
Office (PCO). Copies are also sent to the Primary
Care Associations and other interested parties. The
PCOs have a few months to submit designation updates for
After review and consideration of all comments, the
Secretary designates Health Professional Shortage
Areas (HPSAs) and withdraws the designations of areas
determined to no longer meet the criteria for designation.
The PCOs are the primary source for designation requests,
and other interested parties are encouraged to work
through the PCOS to apply. If another agency or individual
submits a request for designation to the Shortage
Designation Branch, if it has not been shared with
the PCO, the Office of Shortage Designation will forward
it to the PCO for their review and input.
|Notification and Publication of Designations
A written notice of a designation (or withdrawal
of a designation) is provided at the time of the designation
decision to the applicant and other interested parties,
- Governor of the State in which the HPSA is located
- PCO if they were not the applicant
- Appropriate professional societies and public
or nonprofit agencies and connected to the HPSA
The date the notification letter reflects the date
of the designation action.