Health professional shortage and health status and health care access

J Health Care Poor Underserved. 2007 Aug;18(3):590-8. doi: 10.1353/hpu.2007.0062.


Although areas designated as Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs) have fewer primary care physicians than non-HPSAs, few studies have tested whether HPSA designation is related to health status and medical service access. This study examined whether residents living in HPSAs were more likely to report worse health status and to be more likely to have difficulty in getting access medical services than residents living in non-HPSAs, with survey data of 10,940 adult West Virginians. Multiple regression results indicate that HPSA is associated with worse general health status and poor physical health, and less access to medical services (measured by had usual place for medical care, experienced not getting needed health care and had outpatient care) but not to inpatient care. These findings indicate that the current HPSA designation system does capture the significant differences between residents of HPSAs and residents of non-HPSAs in health status and medical services access.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Health Services / statistics & numerical data*
  • Health Services Accessibility / statistics & numerical data*
  • Health Status*
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medically Underserved Area*
  • Medically Uninsured / statistics & numerical data*
  • Middle Aged
  • Regression Analysis
  • Rural Health*
  • West Virginia