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Shortage Designations
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Whether due to the growing shortage of primary care providers, inequitable allocation of health care resources, or the unfortunate realities of poverty, many areas and populations of the United States experience medical underservice. What's more, areas that currently have an ample supply of health care resources tend to attract more, subsequently leaving provider shortage areas—and, undeserved people—in peril. It is well known that socioeconomic and demographic disparities exist. To correct these inequities and advance our state’s quality of life and productivity, Michigan and the federal government have taken important steps to ensure all residents the right to essential health care services.

A crucial technique that has been used to increase access to care centers on redistributing the supply of primary care, dental health, and mental health professionals to areas with the highest need. There are two types of designations that achieve this purpose:

These designations, in conjunction with Michigan’s Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) and Rural Health Clinics (RHCs), are paramount to strengthening the health care safety net and securing a healthier and happier Michigan future. The Health Resources & Services Administration develops shortage designation criteria and uses them to decide whether or not a geographic area, population group, or facility is a HPSA or MUA/P.

All designations are explored through a non-competitive application process through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). In other words, any interested stakeholder or group of stakeholders may nominate an area, population, or facility for a shortage designation. Moreover, any entity located within a designated area can use the benefits that the respective designation affords. At the same time, MPCA utilizes an objective three-variable prioritization process to determine which areas deserve first attention in the pursuit of a designation.


Click here for a convenient benefits of shortage designation table that documents the relationship of the various designation types to the programs that require them.



Current Designations in Michigan

Primary Care Health Professional Shortage Area

Mental Health Professional Shortage Area

Dental Health Professional Shortage Area

Medically Underserved Area/Population

Detroit Medically Underserved Area/Population

Governor’s Certified Shortage Area for RHC

More Information & Designation Inquiries

Joe Tran, MPH
Program Specialist, Health Center Operations




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