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Meeting of the Board of Regents | October 2007

Monday, October 1, 2007 - 11:20pm

sed seal                                                                                                 









Frank Muñoz


Designation of Physician Shortage Areas (RPSAs)


October 10, 2007


Goal 3






Issue for Decision (Consent Agenda)


Should the Board of Regents approve the updates to the list of Regents Physician Shortage Areas as recommended by the Department of Health?


Reason(s) for Consideration


              Required by Chapter 576 of the Laws of 1975 and Section 605 of the Education Law


Proposed Handling


This item will come before the Higher Education and Professional Practice Committee at its October 2007 meeting where it will be voted on and action taken.  It will then come before the full Board at its October 2007 meeting for final action.


Procedural History


The Department of Health annually recommends updates to the list of Regents physician shortage areas.  These updates usually occur at the September or October Regents meetings and include modifications to the following:  Health Professions Shortage Areas (HPSAs) – primary care shortage areas, Facility Physician Shortage Areas, State Facility Shortage Areas, and Mental Health Professions Shortage Areas.


Background Information


In 1987, the Board of Regents approved a system for identifying and designating areas of physician shortage.  In September 1995, they made a decision to update the shortage area list once a year.  In addition, at their September 1997 meeting, the Board of Regents modified the system by adding a category of Mental Health Professions Shortage Areas, along with the following categories of shortage areas:


  • Health Professions Shortage Areas (HPSA)


Federal Health Professions Shortage Areas (HPSAs) are used by the Federal government to identify areas of primary care physician shortages.  The Federal government requires that all HPSA designations be updated every three years using the HPSA criteria.  The basic eligibility criterion is the physician-to-population ratio; in addition, infant mortality, physician availability in contiguous areas, and other factors are also considered.  The NYS Department of Health reviews and comments on all requests for Federal HPSA designation.


  • County
    Care Specialty Shortage Areas


Counties where less than one-third of the recommended number of specialists in the 15 most common specialties are available.


  • Hospital Non-Primary Care Specialty Shortage Areas


Hospitals are designated as RPSAs for non-primary care specialties as approved by the Board of Regents in 1987.  In order to receive credit toward fulfillment of a service obligation, non-primary care specialists are required to devote at least 50 percent of their practice to Medicaid recipients and/or the uninsured.  The most recent data available (now 1993) on percentages of Medicaid and self-pay days are used to identify hospitals where service-obligated specialists may fulfill this obligation.


  • State Facility Physician Shortage Areas


Facilities operated by the Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities, the Office of Mental Health, and the Department of Correctional Services are identified.


  • Facilities Providing Services to Special Populations Shortage Areas


Facilities are designated as serving special populations identified by the Regents as experiencing special barriers to health care.


  • Mental Health Professions Shortage Areas


Mental Health Professions Shortage Areas are counties identified as having less than one-third of the recommended number of mental health professionals and specific areas and facilities designated by the federal government.


The Department of Health is now recommending updates to the list of Regents physician shortage areas approved in September 2006.  Attachment 1 consists of recommended amendments to the various categories of shortage areas.




The Regents should approve the changes in the lists of designated physician shortage areas described in Attachment 1 with an effective date of January 1, 2008.


Timetable for Implementation


The changes to the list of designated physician shortage areas will be effective January 1, 2008.