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Health Professional Shortage Areas

Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs) are geographic regions or populations within the U.S. that face a shortage of healthcare providers, particularly primary care physicians, dentists, and mental health professionals. The designation of an area as a HPSA indicates a significant gap between the healthcare needs of the population and the available healthcare resources.


North Dakota Frontier Counties

Printable map that shows the North Dakota counties designated as frontier (less than 7 persons per square mile).
Date: February 2020

North Dakota Medically Underserved Areas/Populations

Printable map that shows North Dakota's medically underserved areas (MUAs) and underserved population.
Date: September 2022

Maps from Health & Human Services North Dakota


HPSAs and Medically Underserved Areas/Populations (MUA/Ps), established under the U.S. Public Health Service Act (Sections 330 (MUA/P) and 332 (HPSA)), are federal designations of geographic areas, population groups, or facilities which meet the criteria as needing additional primary care services.

In addition, Healthcare Safety Net Amendments (2002) authorized automatic facility HPSA designations for federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) and the FQHC look-a-likes. FQHCs include community health centers, public housing centers, outpatient health programs funded by the Indian Health Service (including urban Indian organizations receiving funds under Title V of the Indian Healthcare Improvement Act and tribal 638 programs), and programs serving migrants and the homeless. These amendments also authorized facility designations for rural health clinics through a simple application. The authority for designations is delegated to the Bureau of Primary Healthcare's Division of Shortage Designation.

Currently, over 37 federal programs use the HPSA and MUA/MUP Designation for eligibility or preference including Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA)/Division of National Health Service Corps (scholarship and loan repayment programs), HRSA's Primary Care: The Health Center Program (Community and Migrant Health Centers and federally qualified health center look-a-likes), Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (Physicians Bonus Payment Program), Conrad "State-30" Program, J-1 Visa Waiver Program, State Health Departments, HRSA/BHPR Title VII and Title VIII Grants, Rural Health Clinic Act, and Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration.

Information regarding shortage designations is provided free of charge to all North Dakota communities.