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Health Profession Shortage Areas

What are health profession shortage areas or medically underserved populations/areas? It turns out that these are not easy questions to answer. And the answers will have significant impact on rural America for years to come. The Health Resources Services Administration Negotiated Rulemaking Committee meets again this week in Washington DC. The Committee’s purpose is to reconsider how Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSA) and Medically Underserved Areas (MUA) are designated for the purposes of Federal programs. Wednesday represents the 28th meeting day (more than 160 hours) of the committee’s work to date. This tally does not include subcommittee meetings, which have been too numerous to tally. However, we do expect to see impact testing results from several proposed new models for HPSAs and MUAs, and this could very well be the last week of face-to-face meetings for the Committee. It is anticipated that the committee may reach tentative agreement this week on the new models, and the committee would then spend the months of August and September making final adjustments to the methodology by conference calls, prior to final approval in October. Progress updates from the week will be posted on this blog.

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