Montana Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA) Designations

Under the Primary Care Office Agreement with the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), the Montana Primary Care Office works to improve access to health care and reduce health disparities for Montanans through the thoughtful review of underserved, rural and frontier areas throughout the state. Designations instated through HRSA help prioritize limited federal resources to the areas that need them the most.

As part of the PCO agreement, the MT PCO submits applications to the Bureau of Health Professions, Shortage Designation Branch for review and approval of three types of federal designations:

  • Primary Care
  • Dental Health
  • Mental Health 

Primary Care HPSA Map
Mental Health HPSA Map
Dental Health HPSA Map

Types of HPSA Designations

Montana utilizes a County wide Rational Service Area (RSA) to determine a HPSA. In some limited cases, if a full county is unable to meet the regulatory criteria to instate a HPSA, a sub-county or service area designations may be submitted for approval. The ultimate designation of a proposed HPSA falls to the Bureau of Health Professions, Shortage Designation Branch to review and approve. 

For more information regarding HPSA’s please visit the HRSA website.

Am I located in a HPSA?

Easily determine if your healthcare facility is located within a HPSA:

 How long does a HPSA take to be designated?

The length of time to review a proposed designation can vary widely depending on staff resources within the MT PCO, local interest, and provider/clinic participation during data collection. The MT PCO aims to complete all HPSA reviews and submit within a 6-week window.  Once the MT PCO has submitted a proposed designation the Bureau of Health Professions, Shortage Designation Branch has 90 business days to review and determine if the HPSA meets federal criteria. Once a determination is made the public facing HPSA portal is updated.

How are HPSA regulations established?

The Federal Bureau of Health Professions, Shortage Designation Branch sets rules and procedures & reviews and approves all submitted designations from state Primary Care Offices. Eligibility requirements for federal programs are set by Congress and administered by federal agencies.

Office of Shortage Designation
Health Resources and Services Administration

Technical Assistance

The Montana Primary Care Office is available to provide technical assistance and resources to healthcare sites, providers and the public on changes in federal or state rules and programs that may impact rural and frontier communities. For assistance, please call (406) 444-3934 or email