Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA)?

HPSAs are defined service areas that demonstrate a critical shortage of primary care physicians, dentists, or mental health providers. A HPSA can be a distinct geographic area such as a parish or grouping of census tracts, a specific population group within a defined geographic area (such as a population under 200% poverty), or a specific public or non-profit facility such a state hospital. Maps of each of these types of HPSAs in Louisiana can be accessed on the health professional shortage areas link on the Bureau of Primary Care and Rural Health’s Primary Care and Health Workforce Development site at: http://new.dhh.louisiana.gov/index.cfm/page/570/n/252.

Is a HPSA designation the same as a “rural” designation?

No. If an area is designated as a HPSA it does not mean it is a rural area. There are several HPSAs in our state that are in metropolitan areas.

How is a HPSA different from a Medically Underserved Area (MUA)?

Medically Underserved Areas (MUAs) identify areas or populations with a shortage of health care services using slightly different criteria than the HPSA designations. Documentation of shortage for MUAs include several indicators, in addition to the availability of health care providers. These factors include infant mortality rate, poverty rate and percentage of population aged 65 or over. Louisiana's MUA designations are currently being used for various grants including Section 330 grants, however they cannot be used for the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) programs; Louisiana’s State Loan Repayment Program (SLRP), or for placement of physicians in the Conrad 30 (J-1 Visa Waiver) Program.

What is the difference between a HPSA and a Governor's Medically Underserved Population Designation?

A governor's Medically Underserved Population (MUP) desination is a type of MUP that exists to address special circumstances. Under the provisions of Public law 99-280, enacted in 1986, a population group which does not meet the established criteria of an Index of Medical Underservice (IMU) less than 62.0 can nevertheless be considered for designation if "unusual local conditions which are a barrier to access, or the availability of personal health services exist and are documented" and if such a designation is recommended by the chief executive officer and local officials of the State where the requested population resides. These areas are not eligible for rural Health Clinic (RHC) certification. Requests for designation under these exceptional procedures should describe in detail the unusual local conditions/access barriers/availability indicators which led to the recommendation for exceptional designation and include any supporting data. Such requests must also include a written recommendation for designation from the governor or other chief executive officer of the State (or State-equivalent) and local health official.

How is HPSA designation related to the 10% Medicare Incentive Program?

In Louisiana, the Bureau of Primary Care and Rural Health has HPSA Designation Specialists who gather information and compile designations for the State. These requests follow the "42 CODE OF FEDERAL REGULATIONS (CFR), CHAPTER 1, PART 5 (october 1, 1993, pp. 34-48), to have an area considered for designation. These are the federal guidelines for submitting primary care, dental and mental health HPSAs. These regulations can be found online at http://bhpr.hrsa.gov/shortage/hpsasdesignationcriteria/index.html

 

What is the difference between a HPSA and a Governor's Certified Shortage Area?

The designation of a Governor's Certified Shortage Area, authorized under the Rural Health Clinic legislation, is only used for eligibility for RHC certification. It is not used like a health professional shortage area (HPSA) for the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) Program, State Loan Repayment Program (SLURP), J-1 Visa Waiver physician placements, or a Medically Underserved Area/Medically Underserved Population for 330 funding.

What is the process for requesting a HPSA designation?

In Louisiana, the Bureau of Primary Care and Rural Health has a HPSA Designation Specialist who gathers information and compiles the designation requests submitted to the State. To have an area considered for designation, the requests must follow the 42nd CODE OF FEDERAL REGULATIONS (CFR), CHAPTER 1, PART 5 (October 1, 1993, pp.34-48). These are the federal guidelines for submitting primary care, dental and mental health HPSA. may submit a HPSA request. These are the federal guidelines for submitting Primary Care, Dental, and Mental Health HPSAs. For further information, these regulations can be found online at http://bhpr.hrsa.gov/shortage/hpsasdesignationcriteria/index.html

Who approves or disapproves a HPSA designation request?

All HPSA designation requests are evaluated and approved or disapproved by the federal Shortage Designation Branch (SDB) in the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) based on the shortage/underserved criteria established by regulation.

What are the general steps and timeline for a HPSA designation request?

For specific questions about your request, contact Beth Butler at 225-342-4702, or email her at Beth.Butler@la.gov.

How long does it take to process an application for a HPSA designation once it gets to the SDB?

There is a 30-day mandatory comment period for all applications. After 30 days, if the application is complete and has all the required information, the process takes an average of 120 working days.

How often are HPSA designations reviewed?

HPSA designations must be updated every three years. The update procedure is exactly the same as the procedure for the original request. At the time of the update review, changes in the type of HPSA may occur including a loss of HPSA designation due to the successful recruitment and retention efforts of the community.

If a HPSA designation is denied, when can it be resubmitted?

There is no time limit for resubmissions, except as limited by program deadlines for renewal submissions. For more information or questions, please contact Beth.Butler at (225) 342-4702, or via email at Beth.Butler@la.gov.

Is there an available listing of HPSAs in Louisiana?

 

Visit the Federal Shortage Designation database online at http://hpsafind.hrsa.gov or contact Beth Butler at (225) 342-4702 or via email at Beth.Butler@la.gov. Primary care, dental and mental health HPSA maps can be viewed on the HPSA designation link which is on the Bureau of Primary Care and Rural Health Website under the Primary Care and Health Workforce Development section.