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H H S Department of Health and Human Services
Health Resources and Services Administration
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HPSA Designations
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Dental HPSA Designation Overview

There are three different types of HPSA designations, each with its own designation requirements:

  • Geographic Area
  • Population Groups
  • Facilities

Geographic Areas must:

  • Be rational areas for the delivery of dental services
  • Meet one of the following conditions
    • Have a population to full-time-equivalent dentist ratio of at least 5,000:1
    • Have a population to full-time equivalent dentist ratio of less than 5,000:1 but greater than 4,000:1 and unusually high needs for dental services
  • Dental professionals in contiguous areas are overutilized, excessively distant or inaccessible to the population

Population Groups must:

  • Reside in a rational service area for the delivery of dental care services
  • Have access barriers that prevent the population group from use of the area's dental providers
  • Have a ratio of the number of persons in the population group to the number of dentists practicing in the area and serving the population group of at least 4,000:
  • Members of Federally recognized Native American tribes are automatically designated. Other groups may be designated if the meet the basic criteria described above.

Facilities must:

  • Be either Federal and/or State correctional institutions or public and/or non-profit medical facilities
  • Federal or State Correctional facilities must:
    • Have at least 250 inmates and
    • Have a ratio of the number of internees per year to the number of FTE dentists serving the institution of at least 1,500:1
  • Public and/or non-profit private dental facilities must:
    • provide general dental care services to an area or population group designated as having a dental HPSA and
    • have insufficient capacity to meet the dental care needs of that area or population group