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)

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