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Health Professional Shortage Areas

Shortage designations are designed to identify communities with diminishing health care services and provide them with opportunities to improve access to and availability of care. By identifying health care shortage areas, communities become eligible for state and federal assistance to recruit and retain health professionals, access additional reimbursement dollars, and eventually alleviate the shortage.

Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSA) and Medically Underserved Areas (MUA), established under the US Public Health Service Act (Sections 330 and 332), are federal designations of geographic areas (population groups or facilities) which meet the criteria as needing additional primary health care services.

NOTE: These designations are produced based on federal guidelines and approval letters from Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). In issues of extreme importance such as verification for grants or other applications, always consult the official federal listing with the Bureau of Health Professions Care (BHP), Shortage Designation Branch (SDB) at: HRSA Bureau of Health Professions

Designation as a HPSA or MUA is based on the availability of health professional resources within a rational service area. The definition of a rational service area is based on demographics and travel time to the nearest sources of care. Other factors considered in the designation process are the availability of primary care resources in contiguous areas, and the presence of unusually high needs, such as a high infant mortality rate or poverty rate.

The Primary Care Office within the Bureau of Health Care Access requests and maintains shortage designations for Iowa. The following information represents the status of HPSAs in Iowa at the time these documents were produced, and will be updated January and July, as needed.

The following web site: is considered to be the sole official website in determining the current designated status of a federal shortage area. Scroll down the page to Quick Access Reports and Find Shortage Areas to determine the appropriate designation for your area. If you know the exact address of the location, your may also use the Shortage Designation Advisor page.