Some of the most widely known and sought-after benefits of a shortage designation are Medicare bonus payments to physicians and structured student loan repayments for qualifying professionals. But by virtue of having a Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA) or Medically Underserved Area (MUA) designation means quite a bit more when it comes to applying for grants from states and the Federal government.
For starters, some grants to boost health care technology, investigate low-income health disparities or determine best practices in rural communities require that a grantee either operate in or physicially re-locate to a shortage designation. With a HPSA or MUA, this is already proven and accepted by the Federal government and, in most states, the state government as well. For applications that still require detailed information, the information contained in HPSA or MUA submissions to the government contain more than enough verified information to demonstrate that a proposed service area is truly underserved or has a shortage of physician services.
Without a designation in place, the research, map-making, analysis and compilation of all the facts and data needs to be done by the organization making the grant application and for only their own benefit. With a designation in place, the whole community can benefit from the analysis contained in a state HPSA or MUA submission.
Armed with a shortage designation and the information supporting it, your next stop is Grants.gov.
As the Web-based grants clearinhouse of choice, most of the grants available from the Federal government are available through this Web site, only.
For first-time grants searchers, visit Grants.gov and look for “Find Grant Opportunities” in the red-colored left column.
This search allows you to see all the past, present and archived grants for the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) in the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Resources. HRSA is the Federal agency that oversees all shortage designations. Grants from this agency tend to include some kind of physician or healthcare shortage requirement.