HHS Posts List of National Health Professional Shortage Areas

  • by AGD Washington Advocacy Representative
  • Jan 31, 2024
On January 2, 2024, the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) posted new Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs) designations and withdrawals and shared information on the process to submit comments on these decisions. HPSAs are federal designations of areas, populations, or facilities experiencing professional shortages of dental, primary, or mental health care providers. The HPSA designation is used to qualify for various federal programs, including the National Health Service Corps, and the designations are updated periodically. As of December 2, 2023, HRSA reports that there are 57 million people living in 6,802 dental health HPSAs. Furthermore, HRSA finds that 9,619 more dental practitioners are needed to alleviate the dental health HPSAs. California has the most dental HSPAs (521), followed by Alaska (330), Missouri (320), Texas (259), and Florida (247). 

The Federal Register notice is available here. More information, including a list of dental HSPAs, is available here.  

Impact on General Dentistry: While HRSA’s work highlights the workforce crisis facing dental health care and other critical health care spaces, the current model of defining HPSAs is sorely outdated and inflexible, often leaving those most in need behind. AGD has previously advocated that HPSA’s definition should be updated to include a technology-driven approach in order to better allocate resources and enact responsive policy that meets the unique needs of each community. AGD is committed to addressing the workforce crisis by advancing legislation that increases funding for the National Health Service Corps; forgives, delays, or refinances dental graduate student debt; increases training for the oral health workforce; and bolsters a diverse workforce.