Health Professional Shortage designation process

The application process

To receive a federal shortage designation, you must contact us. We'll work with you to assess the health needs of your community or facility and submit an application that describes how the community or facility meets federal shortage criteria.
  • A shortage application is prepared at the local level and then submitted to the federal Shortage Designation Branch for approval.
  • The complete application and approval takes three to nine months.
  • Because of the time required to complete a designation, communities are advised to begin the application process as soon as a health care provider shortage is recognized.
  • There are two broad categories of shortage designation:
    • Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs) describe the health care needs of a community, such as the number of health care providers within the community or serving a specific population, such as those who don't have health insurance, are low-income or face language barriers.
    • Medically Underserved Areas/Populations(MUAs/MUPs) describe both the health status and health needs of a population or a subset of the population.

Additional information

  • You can search all Health Professional Shortage Area designations using the federal HPSA Find database.
  • We reassess Health Professional Shortage Areas every three years, or in the event of a significant workforce change.
  • Once an area or population group is designated to have a lack of health care resources, the associated benefits are available to anyone in the area.