Shortage Designation Management System (SDMS)

Providing coordination to ensure consistent and accurate assessment of underservice, using data collection, verification, and analysis.

What is the Shortage Designation Management System?

The HCWC, as part of our Primary Care Office (PCO) work, uses the SDMS to manage health workforce data for their states and apply for Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs) and  Medically Underserved Areas/Populations (MUAs/Ps). Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) uses SDMS to review shortage designation applications, communicate with the PCO on specific applications, and make final shortage designation determinations.

There are two shortage designation determinations, Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSA) and Medically Underserved Areas/Populations (MUA/P).

What is a Health Professional Shortage Area?

A Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA) is designated as having a critical shortage of either primary care, dental or mental health providers. Each type of HPSA is further classified as being a specific geographic area, a specific population group, or in some cases, a specific facility. This designation expires and must be renewed every three years.

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What is a Medically Underserved Area/Population (MUA/P)?

A Medically Underserved Area/Population (MUA/P) designation identifies areas or populations with a shortage of primary care services using a different set of criteria. Medically Underserved Areas/Populations are areas or populations designated by HRSA as having: too few primary care providers, high infant mortality, high poverty and/or high elderly population. Unlike a HPSA this type of designation does not expire. An MUA/MUP may apply to whole counties, a group of counties or civil divisions, or a group of urban census tracts. The Medically Underserved Population (MUP) includes groups of persons who face documented economic, cultural or linguistic barriers to health care.

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