Medically Underserved Areas or MUAs, are official designations from the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services (HHS), that indicates a specified geographic area has a shortage of primary care physician services.
MUAs are needed for a clinic to apply to become a Federally Qualified Health Center or to compete for a Visa waiver physician placement. To communities that have a shortage of primary care practitioners, a MUA is the minimum government designation that will target Federal money to a community in the way of increased Medicare reimbursements offered to FQHCs. Unlike HPSA designations, this does not entail a 10% Medicare bonus payment.
HHS cooperates with States to determine what areas qualify based on an index comparing the ratio of primary care physicians to the population, infant mortality rates, the proportion of the population living at less than the Federal Poverty Level and the percentage of the population age 65 and older.