Friday, December 11, 2020

The Primary Care Shortage in the Great Plains Region

As of September 30, 2020, more than 81 million Americans lived in areas or settings designated by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) as a primary care Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA). An HPSA with a primary care shortage is a geographic area, population group, or facility that has poor access to basic healthcare services because it lacks a sufficient number of primary care providers. In the primary care realm, HRSA designation criteria is based upon the population within the HPSA relative to the number of primary care providers that service the area. For HRSA purposes, primary care providers include Doctors of Medicine (MD) or Doctors of Osteopathy (DO) who provide services as general or family practitioners, general internal medicine physicians, pediatricians, obstetricians or gynecologists. Although the population-to-provider ratio needed to qualify for designation varies by HPSA type (geographic, population or facility), all HPSAs with a primary care shortage designation have a population-to-provider ratio that meets or exceeds certain limits established by federal regulations. HPSA's designated as having a primary care shortage are eligible to participate in federal programs aimed at attracting more primary care services to these medically underserved communities. The HRSA estimates that, as of September 30, 2020, all primary care HPSAs in the U.S. would need nearly 15,000 more primary care providers to eliminate all shortage designations.

HPSAs in the seven-state Great Plains region account for 5.1% of the U.S. population who live in primary care shortage areas.  To eliminate these shortages, the HRSA estimates that Great Plains region HPSAs would need more than 900 additional primary care providers.  Here is a summary look at the primary care shortage in  the Great Plains region:

The Primary Care Shortage in the Great Plains Region
The Primary Care Shortage in the Great Plains Region

State (1) HPSAs (2) Population (3) Shortage
IA 132 666.1 92
KS 188 778.8 124
MN 158 556.8 90
MO 324 1,696.1 509
NE 76 19.1 3
ND 88 189.8 39
SD 97 253.2 51
Region 1,063 4,159.9 908
U.S. 7,203 81,516.3 14,945

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

Source:  Designated HPSA Quarterly Summary, 9/30/20 (HRSA)