Thursday, January 13, 2022

The Southwest's Primary Care Shortage

A population group, geographic area, or facility where residents have diminished access to basic medical care because there are too few primary care physicians relative to the population size of that setting can be designated a primary care health professional shortage area (HPSA) by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).  As of December 31, 2021, HRSA data showed that more than 86.4 million Americans lived in primary care HPSAs.  The four-state Southwest region was home to nearly 13.2 million people who lived in a primary care HPSA.  The HRSA estimates that to eliminate this primary care shortage, Southwest HPSAs would need over 2,200 more primary care physicians.  As such, the Southwestern U.S. accounted for about 14.6% of the national shortage of primary care physicians.  A closer review of 12/31/21 HRSA data reveals the following about the Southwest's primary care shortage:

The Southwest's Primary Care Shortage

The Southwest's Primary Care Shortage

State (1) HPSAs (2) Population (3) Shortage
AZ 238 3,185,244 653
NM 108 1,194,945 278
OK 185 1,416,044 289
TX 429 7,381,169 991
Region 960 13,177,402 2,211
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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