The Office of Mississippi Physician Workforce oversees the state’s physician workforce development needs by nurturing the creation of family medicine residency programs, fostering the development of a physician workforce in all specialties where they are needed, evaluating the existing workforce, and establishing the state’s current and future workforce requirements.
As we move forward in improving health-care access, we will work toward adding additional medical residency training programs around Mississippi, developing partnerships that expand medical training opportunities in rural areas, and building a strong relationship with the Mississippi Rural Physicians Scholarship Program, which cultivates rural college students desiring to return to their roots to practice medicine.
Shortage Designations/Underserved Areas
There are two types of health professional shortage designations: Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs) and Medically Underserved Areas or Populations (MUAs/MUPs). Both designations consider primary care physician-to-population ratios, other high-need indicators (poverty levels, percent of the population that is elderly, infant death rate and rate of low birth weight), and barriers to access care. Designations are required for placement of health professionals under the National Health Service Corps and waiver programs for foreign physicians. Designations are also necessary for the location of community and migrant health centers and rural health clinics, programs that provide health care to underserved populations.
Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs) are defined in Section 332 of the Public Health Service Act, 42 U.S.C. 2543 to include: (1) urban and rural geographic areas, (2) population groups, and (3) facilities with shortages of health professionals. Federal designation as a HPSA documents a shortage of health care providers (primary care, dental or mental health) as well as the existence of barriers to accessing care including lack of public transportation, travel time and distance to the next source of nondesignated care and high poverty. To be eligible for designation, a geographic area of a population group (a low income or migrant population) must have a population-to-physician ration greater than 3,000 to one.