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  3. What is Shortage Designation?
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Reviewing Shortage Designation Applications

Shortage designation begins with state Primary Care Offices (PCOs).

State PCOs:

  • Conduct needs assessments in their states,
  • Determine what areas are eligible for designations, and
  • Submit designation applications to us.

We review the shortage designation applications. If they meet eligibility criteria, we approve the designation.

How do PCOs submit shortage designation applications?

PCOs use our online portal, the Shortage Designation Management System (SDMS), to submit applications. We then use the SDMS to review PCO submissions.

We base SDMS business rules on National Health Service Corps (NHSC) governing statutes and regulations. We also use shortage designation policies and procedures.

What data sources does the SDMS contain?

PCOs can supplement SDMS data with area or facility-specific data.

How do state PCOs use the SDMS?

  • Manage health workforce data for their states
  • Communicate with us on specific applications
  • Apply for HPSAs and MUAs/Ps

How does HRSA use the SDMS?

  • Review shortage designation applications
  • Communicate with the PCOs on specific applications
  • Make final shortage designation decisions

How do we review shortage designation applications?

We review all shortage designation applications within the SDMS. The process* is as follows:

  • PCOs submit designation applications;
  • We review the application and make a decision;
  • If approved we:
    • Calculate a score;
    • Send the decision and score to data.hrsa.gov; and
    • Notify the PCO and all PCO-identified interested parties’ about the decision.
  • If rejected we:
    • Notify the PCO and all PCO-identified interested parties’ about the decision.

*This process is the same for all applications.

Note: Based on statute and regulation, Automatically-Designated HPSAs (Auto-HPSAs) also submit applications for rescore request review.

How do I request a new HPSA or MUA/P?

To request a new HPSA or MUA/P, contact your state PCO.

How do I request an update to an existing HPSA or MUA/P?

To request an update to an existing HPSA or MUA/P, contact your state PCO.

How do I request an Auto-HPSA designation?

Federal statute and regulation designate Auto-HPSAs. You can request an Auto-HPSA designation if your facility is one of the following types:

  • Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHCs);
  • FQHC Look-Alike Clinic;
  • Medicare certified Rural Health Clinic that meets NHSC Site requirements; and,
  • Indian Health Service (IHS), Tribal, and Urban Indian Health facilities.

How do I request an Exceptional MUP?

To request an Exceptional MUP, contact your state PCO.

How do I request a Governor-Designated Secretary-Certified Shortage Area for Rural Health Clinic?

To request a Governor-Designated Secretary-Certified Shortage Area for Rural Health Clinic MUA/P, contact your state PCO.

How to contact us

Shortage Designation Questions

Email SDB@hrsa.gov

SDMP Questions

Email SDMP@hrsa.gov

NHSC or Nurse Corps Questions

Submit a help form or call 1-800-221-9393

CMS Bonus Payment Questions

Contact your Medicare Administrative Contractor (MAC)

SDMP Webinars

Auto-HPSA Portal Training Webinars

Project Updates and Preview Webinars

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