DENTAL HEALTH PROFESSIONAL SHORTAGE AREA
Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs) are based on the evaluation of criteria established through federal regulation to identify geographic areas or population groups with a shortage of Dental providers.
Definition of Dental Health Professional Shortage Area (DHPSA)
The federal Dental HPSA designation (formerly Health Manpower Shortage Areas) identifies areas as having a shortage of dental providers on the basis of availability of dentists and dental auxiliaries.
Criteria: To qualify for designation as a DHPSA, an area must be:
- A rational service area: California recognizes Medical Services Study Areas as rational service areas;
- Population to general practice dentist ratio: 5,000:1 or 4,000:1 plus population features demonstrating "unusually high need;" and
- A lack of access to dental care in surrounding areas because of excessive distance, overutilization, or access barriers.
Benefits of designation as a DHPSA include:
- Education loan repayment and personnel placement through the National Health Service Corps (NHSC);
- Eligibility for the NHSC/State Loan Repayment Program;
- Scholarships for dental training in return for service in a shortage area; and
- Funding priorities for training in general practice dentistry in programs that provide substantial training in shortage areas.
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