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Health Professional Shortage Area Designations: HPSAs, MUAs and MUPs.

One major responsibility of the Alaska Primary Care Office is to recommend to the Bureau of Health Professions, Shortage Designation Branch, areas and/or populations within the state that are considered to be Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs). HPSAs are geographic areas and/or populations which have unmet needs for primary care, dental, and/or behavioral health services.

HPSA designations have an impact on eligibility determinations for primary care grants, special payments to providers for seeing Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, securing assistance from the National Health Service Corps (NHSC), as well as many other federal and state programs. (See the list of federal Programs Using HPSA and MUA/P Designation.)

PCO staff develops HPSA applications based upon provider to population ratios, poverty levels, geographic factors, several health status measures, and other barriers to care. Staff collects data, analyzes the data, writes up report results, and then sends the applications to the Shortage Designation Branch for its review and action, on behalf of communities in need.

Another major responsibility of the Alaska Primary Care Office (APCO) is to recommend to the Shortage Designation Branch (SDB) of the Bureau of Health Professions of HRSA which areas should be designated Medically Underserved Areas/Populations (MUA/Ps) within Alaska.
Applicants for community health center grant funding or who are interested in receiving certification as a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) are required to demonstrate that they are serving, or will serve, a designated MUA/P.
Alaska Primary Care Office staff assists in developing MUA/P applications based upon available data and the priority of unmet needs. APCO staff collects available data, complete applications, and sends applications to the BPHC, on behalf of communities and facilities.
To look up the designated MUA/P list for Alaska, select the link below, on the website of the Shortage Designation Branch.

Community Health Centers with Section 330 funding are automatically designated as HPSAs although "scoring" of the degree of shortage has not yet been fully implemented. For the most current HPSA or MUA/MUP information, please go to one of the following links:

  • Health Professional Shortage Areas Impact Analysis Findings Notice to Stakeholders (April 2017)