Friday, January 28, 2022

The Great Plains' Primary Care Shortage

When residents of a geographic area, facility, or population group have bad access to basic medical care because too few primary care physicians service the area relative to its population size, the setting can be designated a primary care HPSA (health professional shortage area) 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 designated primary care HPSAs.  The seven-state Great Plains region had 4.7 million residents who lived in a primary care shortage area as of 12/31/21.  This number represented about 5.4% of the U.S. population that was living in primary care shortage areas at that time.  The HRSA estimates that to eliminate the shortage Great Plains region HPSAs would need 980 additional primary care physicians.  As such, the region accounted for about 6.5% of the national deficit of primary care physicians.  A closer review of 12/31/21 HRSA data reveals the following state-level details about the Great Plains' primary care shortage:

The Great Plains' Primary Care Shortage
The Great Plains' Primary Care Shortage

State (1) HPSAs (2) Population (3) Shortage
IA 132 638,024 104
KS 184 780,837 121
MN 193 1,074,432 150
MO 329 1,643,257 492
NE 85 44,242 9
ND 90 224,217 49
SD 100 295,847 55
Region 1,113 4,700,856 980
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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