Achieving HPSA Status: Meeting the Criteria
The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) defines the criteria used in the process of designating communities, populations, or facilities as HPSAs. The application process is administered by the Shortage Designation Branch (SDB) of the Bureau of Health Professions Resources (BHPR).
The application process begins with a Preliminary Study:
- Rational Service Area (RSA): Using specialized mapping systems, a detailed map or ring study is produced to define the boundaries of the requested designation area. The RSA becomes the keystone of subsequent regional stratification for data collection.
- Demand Assessment: Using the most recently available U.S. Census Bureau and demographic forecasting data, a population study is generated.
- Supply Assessment: Based on live survey results, this is the accurate number of full-time Primary Care Physicians that are available to provide patient care to the area or population group. Applying additional, precise mapping helps to determine an accurate and current assessment of the availability and accessibility of clinicians in neighboring or adjacent areas.
- Contiguous resources: Neighboring and adjacent areas are researched and surveyed to assess their capacity to supplement and offset a shortage of medical services in the service area. This evaluation considers accessibility to all medical services, taking obstacles or deterrents into account. For population-group HPSA requests, any physical, political, or socio-economic barriers that the population experiences must be identified and evaluated to determine if they have a measurable impact on the accessibility of quality health care services in the community.
- High needs and/or insufficient capacity: Unique shortages within an area are identified, such as those health care services in high demand by specific age groups, ethnicity, or levels of income.
Once the preliminary study is complete, the following elements are known:
- Rational Service Area
- Strategy for success
- Confidence level for achieving a HPSA
- Perceived type of designation
- An understanding of complexities and workload
- Time-frame for completion and approval
Further steps HPSA Acumen performs on behalf of its clients will produce:
- Rationale for determining the boundaries of the RSA
- Confirmation that surrounding medical service areas cannot supplement our clients health care needs
A more detailed secondary study, which includes careful demographic analysis of the resident civilian population, relying upon the primary care services of the RSA:
- Population statistics
- Poverty statistics
- Age/Sex determinations of health care needs
- Minority assessment
- Compilation, interpretation, and documentation of all findings
- Completion and submission of applications for HPSA designation to state and Federal agencies
- Defense of shortage indicators
- Notification of approval of HPSA application
- A census of the primary care service offering of physician and mid-levels will be conducted