Tuesday, January 25, 2022

The Far West's Mental Health Care Shortage

The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) designates a geographic area, population group or facility where access to mental health care is substandard as a mental health HPSA (health professional shortage area). This designation can be based on the size of the HPSA's population relative to either (a) the number of psychiatrists that service the area, or (b) the combined number of psychiatrists and certain other types of mental health care providers that serve the community. Currently, most mental health HPSA designations are based on population size relative to the number of psychiatrists serving the community.

As of December 31, 2021, mental health care HPSAs in the six-state Far West region had 21.2 million residents, accounting for about 15.5% of the U.S. population who lived in mental health care shortage areas.  To eliminate the shortage, the HRSA estimates that Far West HPSAs would need 1,065 additional mental health care providers.  Further examination of HRSA data reveals the following state-level details about the Far West's mental health care shortage:

The Far West's Mental Health Care Shortage
The Far West's Mental Health Care Shortage

State (1) HPSAs (2) Population (3) Shortage
AK 316 398,691 17
CA 586 12,357,573 648
HI 32 496,032 28
NV 52 2,445,765 111
OR 136 2,392,009 114
WA 177 3,113,241 147
Region 1,299 21,203,311 1,065
U.S. 6,078 136,575,592 6,851

(1) Designated Geographic, Population Group and Facility HPSAs with a mental health care shortage
(2) Population of designated HPSAs
(3) Mental Health Care practitioners needed to remove HPSA Designation

Source:  Designated HPSA Quarterly Summary, 12/31/21 (HRSA)

The Southwest's Dental Care Shortage

According to data from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), as of December 31, 2021, almost 64.2 million Americans lived in a dental health professional shortage area (HPSA).  A dental health HPSA is a geographic area, population group, or facility where access to dental care is impaired because too few dentists work in the area relative to the size of the population.  In the four-state Southwest, as of December 31, 2021, over 7.6 million residents lived in dental care shortage areas, or about 11.8% of all Americans who lived in a dental health HPSA.  The HRSA estimates that HPSAs in the Southwest would need 1,254 more dentists to eliminate the dental care shortage in the region.  This deficit represented about 11.2% of the national shortage of dentists.  Here is a summary look at the Southwest's dental care shortage:

The Southwest's Dental Care Shortage

The Southwest's Dental Care Shortage


State (1) HPSAs (2) Population (3) Shortage
AZ 211 2,307,555 398
NM 107 1,150,822 223
OK 169 1,044,074 181
TX 311 3,099,494 452
Region 798 7,601,945 1,254
U.S. 6,803 64,236,250 11,181

(1) Designated Geographic, Population Group and Facility HPSAs with a dental care shortage
(2) Population of designated HPSAs
(3) Dental Care practitioners needed to remove HPSA Designation

Source:  Designated HPSA Quarterly Summary, 12/31/21 (HRSA)