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Starkville, MS 39759

HPSA Summary Statistics

Three factors are used in the formula that determines all HPSAs (primary care, dental care and mental health). They are :

  1. Population-to-provider ratio (the number of people in the county divided by the number of health care providers in the county),
  2. Poverty rate (It is a two-step arithmetic problem. The first part is the number of poor people in the county divided by the county population. The second part multiplies the answer from the first part of 100,000 to make one county comparable to another even though they  might have different population sizes),
  3. Travel distance/time to the nearest accessible source of care.

Additional factors are used for specific HPSAs. They currently are:

  • Primary Care: Infant deaths/low birth weight rates.
  • Dental Care: If there is fluoride in the water.
  • Mental Health: Ratios of the population under 18 and over 65 and the use of alcohol or substance abuse.

See:  Federal Register, Vol. 68, No. 104, May 30, 2003 at

In the state of Mississippi there are currently 106 locations, populations, or facilities that are designated as a Health Professional Shortage Area for Primary Care. These shortage areas include family practice, internal medicine, pediatrics and OB/GYN. A total of 49 counties are designated HPSAs. Also, 104 designations identify HPSAs for dental care. Out of the 104 HPSAs, 55 of these are counties. There are only 40 designations of HPSAs for mental health care and zero counties are designated.

This shortage of health professionals means that between 1.6 million (primary care) and 2.1 million (mental health) of Mississippi residents are within a designated area, population or facility. Of that, between 900,000 (primary care) and 1.1 million (mental health) are “underserved”. This means that there are too few health care providers to serve the population well. The ratio used is 2,000 residents per 1 provider.

In order to remove the HPSA designation, a ratio of 10,000 residents to 1 practitioner must be achieved. This would require between 159 and 430 new primary care providers for an HPSA area. There would need to be an increase of 190 to 300 dental care providers, and 47 to 113 mental health providers in the state of Mississippi to eliminate its HPSA designations.

Last updated: 8/24/2015