U.S Code last checked for updates: Aug 19, 2019
§ 254e.
Health professional shortage areas
(a)
Designation by Secretary; removal from areas designated; “medical facility” defined
(1)
For purposes of this subpart the term “health professional shortage area” means (A) an area in an urban or rural area (which need not conform to the geographic boundaries of a political subdivision and which is a rational area for the delivery of health services) which the Secretary determines has a health manpower shortage and which is not reasonably accessible to an adequately served area, (B) a population group which the Secretary determines has such a shortage, or (C) a public or nonprofit private medical facility or other public facility which the Secretary determines has such a shortage. All Federally qualified health centers and rural health clinics, as defined in section 1861(aa) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395x(aa)), that meet the requirements of section 254g of this title shall be automatically designated as having such a shortage. The Secretary shall not remove an area from the areas determined to be health professional shortage areas under subparagraph (A) of the preceding sentence until the Secretary has afforded interested persons and groups in such area an opportunity to provide data and information in support of the designation as a health professional shortage area or a population group described in subparagraph (B) of such sentence or a facility described in subparagraph (C) of such sentence, and has made a determination on the basis of the data and information submitted by such persons and groups and other data and information available to the Secretary.
(2)
For purposes of this subsection, the term “medical facility” means a facility for the delivery of health services and includes—
(A)
a hospital, State mental hospital, public health center, outpatient medical facility, rehabilitation facility, facility for long-term care, community mental health center, migrant health center, facility operated by a city or county health department, and community health center;
(B)
such a facility of a State correctional institution or of the Indian Health Service, and a health program or facility operated by a tribe or tribal organization under the Indian Self-Determination Act [25 U.S.C. 5321 et seq.];
(C)
such a facility used in connection with the delivery of health services under section 248 of this title (relating to hospitals), 249 of this title (relating to care and treatment of persons under quarantine and others), 250 of this title (relating to care and treatment of Federal prisoners), 251 of this title (relating to examination and treatment of certain Federal employees), 252 of this title (relating to examination of aliens), 253 of this title (relating to services to certain Federal employees), 247e of this title (relating to services for persons with Hansen’s disease), or 254b(h) of this title (relating to the provision of health services to homeless individuals); and
(D)
a Federal medical facility.
(3)
Homeless individuals (as defined in section 254b(h)(5) of this title), seasonal agricultural workers (as defined in section 254b(g)(3) of this title) and migratory agricultural workers (as so defined)), and residents of public housing (as defined in section 1437a(b)(1) of this title) may be population groups under paragraph (1).
(b)
Criteria for designation of health professional shortage areas; promulgation of regulations
The Secretary shall establish by regulation criteria for the designation of areas, population groups, medical facilities, and other public facilities, in the States, as health professional shortage areas. In establishing such criteria, the Secretary shall take into consideration the following:
(1)
The ratio of available health manpower to the number of individuals in an area or population group, or served by a medical facility or other public facility under consideration for designation.
(2)
Indicators of a need, notwithstanding the supply of health manpower, for health services for the individuals in an area or population group or served by a medical facility or other public facility under consideration for designation.
(3)
The percentage of physicians serving an area, population group, medical facility, or other public facility under consideration for designation who are employed by hospitals and who are graduates of foreign medical schools.
(c)
Considerations in determination of designation
In determining whether to make a designation, the Secretary shall take into consideration the following:
(1)
The recommendations of the Governor of each State in which the area, population group, medical facility, or other public facility under consideration for designation is in whole or part located.
(2)
The extent to which individuals who are (A) residents of the area, members of the population group, or patients in the medical facility or other public facility under consideration for designation, and (B) entitled to have payment made for medical services under title XVIII, XIX, or XXI of the Social Security Act [42 U.S.C. 1395 et seq., 1396 et seq., 1397aa et seq.], cannot obtain such services because of suspension of physicians from the programs under such titles.
(d)
Designation; publication of descriptive lists
(1)
In accordance with the criteria established under subsection (b) and the considerations listed in subsection (c), the Secretary shall designate health professional shortage areas in the States, publish a descriptive list of the areas, population groups, medical facilities, and other public facilities so designated, and at least annually review and, as necessary, revise such designations.
(2)
For purposes of paragraph (1), a complete descriptive list shall be published in the Federal Register not later than July 1 of 1991 and each subsequent year.
(e)
Notice of proposed designation of areas and facilities; time for comment
(1)
Prior to the designation of a public facility, including a Federal medical facility, as a health professional shortage area, the Secretary shall give written notice of such proposed designation to the chief administrative officer of such facility and request comments within 30 days with respect to such designation.
(2)
Prior to the designation of a health professional shortage area under this section, the Secretary shall, to the extent practicable, give written notice of the proposed designation of such area to appropriate public or private nonprofit entities which are located or have a demonstrated interest in such area and request comments from such entities with respect to the proposed designation of such area.
(f)
Notice of designation
The Secretary shall give written notice of the designation of a health professional shortage area, not later than 60 days from the date of such designation, to—
(1)
the Governor of each State in which the area, population group, medical facility, or other public facility so designated is in whole or part located; and
(2)
appropriate public or nonprofit private entities which are located or which have a demonstrated interest in the area so designated.
(g)
Recommendations to Secretary

Any person may recommend to the Secretary the designation of an area, population group, medical facility, or other public facility as a health professional shortage area.

(h)
Public information programs in designated areas

The Secretary may conduct such information programs in areas, among population groups, and in medical facilities and other public facilities designated under this section as health professional shortage areas as may be necessary to inform public and nonprofit private entities which are located or have a demonstrated interest in such areas of the assistance available under this subchapter by virtue of the designation of such areas.

(i)
Dissemination
The Administrator of the Health Resources and Services Administration shall disseminate information concerning the designation criteria described in subsection (b) to—
(1)
the Governor of each State;
(2)
the representative of any area, population group, or facility selected by any such Governor to receive such information;
(3)
the representative of any area, population group, or facility that requests such information; and
(4)
the representative of any area, population group, or facility determined by the Administrator to be likely to meet the criteria described in subsection (b).
(j)
Regulations and report
(1)
The Secretary shall submit the report described in paragraph (2) if the Secretary, acting through the Administrator of the Health Resources and Services Administration, issues—
(A)
a regulation that revises the definition of a health professional shortage area for purposes of this section; or
(B)
a regulation that revises the standards concerning priority of such an area under section 254f–1 of this title.
(2)
On issuing a regulation described in paragraph (1), the Secretary shall prepare and submit to the Committee on Energy and Commerce of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions of the Senate a report that describes the regulation.
(3)
Each regulation described in paragraph (1) shall take effect 180 days after the committees described in paragraph (2) receive a report referred to in such paragraph describing the regulation.
(k)
Maternity care health professional target areas
(1)
The Secretary, acting through the Administrator of the Health Resources and Services Administration, shall identify, based on the data collected under paragraph (3), maternity care health professional target areas that satisfy the criteria described in paragraph (2) for purposes of, in connection with receipt of assistance under this subchapter, assigning to such identified areas maternity care health professionals who, without application of this subsection, would otherwise be eligible for such assistance. The Secretary shall distribute maternity care health professionals within health professional shortage areas using the maternity care health professional target areas so identified.
(2)
For purposes of paragraph (1), the Secretary shall establish criteria for maternity care health professional target areas that identify geographic areas within health professional shortage areas that have a shortage of maternity care health professionals.
(3)
For purposes of this subsection, the Secretary shall collect and publish in the Federal Register data comparing the availability and need of maternity care health services in health professional shortage areas and in areas within such health professional shortage areas.
(4)
In carrying out paragraph (1), the Secretary shall seek input from relevant provider organizations, including medical societies, organizations representing medical facilities, and other organizations with expertise in maternity care.
(5)
For purposes of this subsection, the term ‘full scope maternity care health services’ includes during labor care, birthing, prenatal care, and postpartum care.
(6)
Nothing in this subsection shall be construed as—
(A)
requiring the identification of a maternity care health professional target area in an area not otherwise already designated as a health professional shortage area; or
(B)
affecting the types of health professionals, without application of this subsection, otherwise eligible for assistance, including a loan repayment or scholarship, pursuant to the application of this section.
(July 1, 1944, ch. 373, title III, § 332, as added Pub. L. 94–484, title IV, § 407(b)(3), Oct. 12, 1976, 90 Stat. 2270; amended Pub. L. 95–142, § 7(d), Oct. 25, 1977, 91 Stat. 1193; Pub. L. 96–32, § 7(d), July 10, 1979, 93 Stat. 84; Pub. L. 97–35, title IX, § 986(b)(4), title XXVII, § 2702(a), (b), (c), Aug. 13, 1981, 95 Stat. 603, 903, 904; Pub. L. 100–77, title VI, § 602, July 22, 1987, 101 Stat. 515; Pub. L. 100–177, title III, § 302, Dec. 1, 1987, 101 Stat. 1003; Pub. L. 100–607, title VIII, § 802(b)(2), Nov. 4, 1988, 102 Stat. 3169; Pub. L. 100–628, title VI, § 602(b)(2), Nov. 7, 1988, 102 Stat. 3242; Pub. L. 101–597, title I, § 102, title IV, § 401(b)[(a)], Nov. 16, 1990, 104 Stat. 3014, 3035; Pub. L. 107–251, title III, § 302(a), (d)(2), title VI, § 601(a), Oct. 26, 2002, 116 Stat. 1643, 1645, 1664; Pub. L. 108–163, § 2(f)(1), Dec. 6, 2003, 117 Stat. 2021; Pub. L. 110–355, § 3(b), Oct. 8, 2008, 122 Stat. 3993; Pub. L. 115–320, § 2, Dec. 17, 2018, 132 Stat. 4437.)
cite as: 42 USC 254e