Tuesday, January 4, 2022

The Far West's Primary Care Shortage

A population group, geographic area, or facility where residents have limited access to basic medical care because it has too few primary care physicians relative to the size of its population can be designated a health professional shortage area (HPSA) by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).  As of December 31, 2021, the HRSA reported that more than 86.4 million Americans lived in areas or settings designated as primary care HPSAs.  The six-state Far West region accounted for just over 16.6% of Americans who lived in primary care shortage areas.  The HRSA estimates that to eliminate the shortage Far West region HPSAs would need almost 2,700 additional primary care physicians.  As such, the Far West accounted for about 17.7% of the national deficit of primary care physicians.  A closer review of 12/31/21 HRSA data reveals the following about the Far West's primary care shortage:


The Far West's Primary Care Shortage
The Far West's Primary Care Shortage

State (1) HPSAs (2) Population (3) Shortage
AK 310 214,710 58
CA 646 7,800,963 1,398
HI 32 519,059 87
NV 71 931,149 171
OR 159 1,390,299 176
WA 215 3,531,130 793
Region 1,433 14,387,310 2,683
U.S. 7,613 86,473,101 15,184

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

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

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