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HRSA Proposes Rule to Revise, Combine HPSAs, MUPs
Date:3/5/2008

ROCKVILLE, Md., March 5 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) today proposed a new rule that will improve the way underserved areas and populations are designated and target federal resources to the people and communities who need them most.

The notice, printed in today's Federal Register, consolidates the criteria for designating medically underserved populations (MUPs) and health professional shortage areas (HPSAs) into a single new methodology called the Index of Primary Care Underservice.

The proposed rule meets goals of the revision, which were to:

-- create a simpler system for those who seek designation by consolidating the two existing procedures and their sets of criteria;

-- incorporate better measures of health status and access;

-- improve identification of new, currently undesignated areas of need and currently designated areas no longer in need; and

-- minimize unnecessary disruption.

"The new methodology offers a significant improvement in the identification of communities experiencing limited access to primary care services," HRSA Administrator Elizabeth Duke said. "The revisions will help the Department target resources more effectively to areas of greater relative need."

The MUP and HPSA designations currently are used in a number of HHS programs. The major use of MUP designations is to determine health centers' (http://bphc.hrsa.gov/) eligibility to receive federal grants, since health centers are required to serve medically underserved populations. The major use of HPSA designations is by the National Health Service Corps (http://nhsc.bhpr.hrsa.gov/); the NHSC relies on HPSA designations to assign clinicians, who must serve in areas with shortages of health professionals
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SOURCE Health Resources and Services Administration
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