Community Development

Shortage Designations

Health care resources aren’t always evenly distributed. This has been a problem in the United States for a long time and is one of the leading drivers in health care reform. Government objectives are for all citizens to have adequate access to health care.

Promoting Equitable Health Throughout Illinois

One thing that’s being done to address these shortages is to place health care professionals in these areas. In order to do this effectively, these areas are given the designation of “health professional shortage areas” (HPSAs) and “medically underserved areas” (MUAs), then, federally funded incentives are provided to attract health professionals to these areas.

The Designation process isn’t competitive. Any individual or organization can nominate an area, facility or population group for a shortage designation.


Federal Benefits Requiring Designation

Shortage Destination Option National Health Service Corps Federally Qualified Health Center Program CMS* Medicare Incentive Payment CMS* Rural HealthClinic Program J-1 Visa Program
Primary Care HPSA
Dental Care HPSA
Mental Health HPSA
Geographic HPSA
Population HPSA
Facility HPSA
Exceptional MUP **
Medically Underserved
Medically Underserved
State Governor’s Certified
Shortage Area HPSA

*Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

**A FQHC must be located in or adjacent to a medically underserved area or population. In some cases, this designation must be done through the governor's office when the underserved area or population does not meet the criteria for a federal designation but the unmet need is still significant.