Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA) designations are used to identify areas and population groups within the United States that are experiencing a shortage of health professionals. There are three categories of HPSA designation based on the health discipline that is experiencing a shortage:
1) primary medical;
2) dental; and
3) mental health.
The primary factor used to determine a HPSA designation is the number of health professionals relative to the population with consideration of high need. Federal regulations stipulate that, in order to be considered as having a shortage of providers, an area must have a population-to-provider ratio of a certain threshold. For mental health, the population to provider ratio must be at least 30,000 to 1 (20,000 to 1 if there are unusually high needs in the community).
The number of mental health care HPSA designations includes HPSAs that are proposed for withdrawal and HPSAs that have no data. By statute, designations are not withdrawn until a Federal Register Notice is published, generally once a year on or around July 1.
Further reading –