The ratios could change drastically if more physicians exit the workforce calculated by HRSA and transition to concierge medicine. In a matter of 10 weeks, we can transition a physician to concierge medicine. If that physician jettisons patients that don’t make the conversion, the market balance can quickly deteriorate.
If there are 35,000 people in a community and one of ten physicians transitions their practice and limits their membership to 400 patients, 3100 people are underserved. If two doctors transition their practice, and each limit their practice to 300, 6400 patients will be without adequate access to care according to these criteria. However, we feel that 3500 is too large a number to adequately care for people’s primary healthcare. This is especially true if the people have not had access to care for several years and need intense management and catching up to bring them to good health status. Think of it like deferred maintenance on a car or a house. Eventually someone has to true it up.
HRSA develops shortage designation criteria to determine whether a geographic area, population group or facility is a Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA) or a Medically Underserved Area/Population (MUA/P). HPSAs may be designated as having a shortage of primary medical care, dental or mental health providers. They may be urban or rural areas, population groups, or medical or other public facilities. MUAs may be a whole county or a group of contiguous counties, a group of counties or civil divisions, or a group of urban census tracts in which residents have a shortage of health services. MUPs may include groups of persons who face economic, cultural or linguistic barriers to health care.