Shortage Designation Modernization Project

Auto-HPSA Update Preview Technical Assistance Webinar

Watch the November 15 recording HRSA Exit Disclaimer

The Shortage Designation Modernization Project (SDMP) modernizes the shortage designation and scoring processes.

The SDMP initiative gives greater transparency, accountability, and parity to the HPSA designation and scoring process. The project also aims to reduce the burden of data collection on State PCOs by using standardized data sets.

Note: No changes will be made to the criteria or methodology for designating or scoring HPSAs.

Timeline | Data & Scoring | NHSC/NURSE Corps


When did the project begin?

SDMP began in 2013 with the development and implementation of the Shortage Designation Management System (SDMS). The SDMS uses standardized data from several trusted sources and streamlines the data submitted by State Primary Care Offices (PCOs).

What is the National Shortage Designation Update?

The National Shortage Designation Update is another component of the SDMP, which updates existing Automatically-designated HPSA (Auto-HPSA) designations.

SDMP Working Groups
HRSA’s Bureau of Primary Health Care, Federal Office of Rural Health Policy, and other stakeholders identified data sources to use for the planned update.

We have engaged stakeholders via ad hoc working groups, discussions with stakeholder groups, and other regular communications.

Stakeholders have provided substantive input into key project decisions. For example, we initially planned for the update to occur in 2017, but revised the timeline and data sources in response to stakeholders concerns.

What updates have been made?

November 2017: National Shortage Designation Update of existing Geographic, Population, and Other Facility HPSA designations based on standardized and PCO-provided data, using SDMS.

Note: We plan to update these HPSAs again in 2020, but PCOs may update HPSAs at any time.

What updates will occur in the future?

Late spring/early summer 2019 (tentative): We plan the National Shortage Designation Update of Auto-HPSAs. We will include all Auto-HPSA facilities in this update.

Auto-HPSA Facilities

  • Health Centers (funded under Sec. 330)
  • Health Center Look-Alikes
  • Tribally-Run Clinics
  • Urban Indian Organizations
  • Dual-Funded Tribal Health
  • Federally-Run Indian Health Service Clinics
  • Rural Health Clinics that meet National Health Service Corps (NHSC) site requirements

Note: Auto-HPSAs will not lose their designations due to this update.

What happens next?

Beginning in summer 2018 and continuing through spring 2019, HRSA will test run the update and provide a number of Auto-HPSA update preview reports to Auto-HPSA facilities.

Each preview will:

  • Show the data used to calculate the HPSA score
  • Be informational only
  • Be sent to Auto-HPSA facilities electronically
  • NOT be used to make program decisions

Once the National Shortage Designation Update takes place, a national level summary will be available on this webpage and the updated scores will be available on the HRSA Data Warehouse.

After the first national update occurs, we will establish a timeline for future Auto-HPSA updates.

Data & Scoring

What scoring data do we use?

We use national, standardized data sets along with data Auto-HPSA facilities and PCOs from states and territories across the country provide.

  • We will use data from the following sources:
    • The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
    • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
    • The Census Bureau
    • The Environment Systems Research Institute
    • The Health Resources and Services Administration’s Uniform Data System
    • State and Territory PCOs
  • Where data are not available from these sources, Auto-HPSA facilities will be able to provide supplemental data.

Find out more about the HPSA Application and Scoring Process.

How can you change your score?

Once the National Shortage Designation Update occurs, Auto-HPSA facilities may submit data related to water fluoridation, substance misuse prevalence, and alcohol misuse prevalence to HRSA.

  • HRSA plans to use a default score of “0” for the water fluoridation, substance misuse prevalence, and alcohol misuse prevalence scoring criteria. Auto-HPSA facilities may submit supplemental data following the National Shortage Designation Update to be reviewed further and will be rescored if warranted.
  • Rural health clinics, Indian Health Service clinics, tribal health clinics, urban Indian health clinics, and community health centers that have not yet reported UDS data, can identify, collect, and prepare facility-level patient data to submit to HRSA for rescoring after the National Shortage Designation Update occurs.

What will change for Auto-HPSAs?

Scores may increase, stay the same, or decrease. The National Shortage Designation Update scores will replace all existing scores.

Any score changes will not go into effect until we implement the National Shortage Designation Update. Until that time, the current manual scoring process for Auto-HPSAs remain in place.

Until the National Shortage Designation Update occurs, Auto-HPSA facilities may continue to request scores or rescores by emailing us.


How does the SDMP affect National Health Service Corps and NURSE Corps?

Changes in HPSA scores may impact a facility’s competitive status for the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) and NURSE Corps programs. The National Shortage Designation Update will not affect CMS HPSA Bonus Payments or rural health clinics’ enrollment/certification.

If a facility’s score decreases, NHSC and NURSE Corps participants at the facility will be able to fulfill their service commitment without contract changes. Following their commitment, NHSC and NURSE Corps participants may apply for a continuation award if they remain in a HPSA.

If NHSC and NURSE Corps participants want to transfer to another approved site, they must identify a site in the same tier. If NHSC participants are eligible for a continuation, they may continue to serve at any eligible site with a HPSA.

If a facility's score increases, they may be more competitive for NHSC and NURSE Corps resources.

Date Last Reviewed:  November 2018

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Shortage designation questions?
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Questions about providers in your Auto-HPSA update preview?
Contact your State PCO

Modernization Project Technical Assistance

Update Preview TA Session Exit disclaimer
(Recorded November 15, 2018)

Update Preview TA Session Exit disclaimer
(Recorded November 6, 2018)

Community Health Centers Exit disclaimer
(Recorded August 6, 2018)

General Webinar Exit disclaimer
(Recorded August 6, 2018)

Indian, Tribal, & Urban Clinics Exit disclaimer
(Recorded June 28, 2018)

Primary Care Associations Exit disclaimer
(Recorded April 20, 2018)

Rural Health Clinics Exit disclaimer
(Recorded April 10, 2018)

Primary Care Offices Exit disclaimer
(Recorded February 28, 2018)