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Shortage Designation Program
Federal Medically Underserved Areas/Populations (MUA/P)
The federal Medically Underserved Area/Population (MUA/P) designation identifies areas or populations as having a need for medical services on the basis of demographic data. These designations are important when seeking Migrant Health Center, Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC), FQHC Look-Alike or Health Care for the homeless status.
Designation is based on an area having an Index of Medical Underservice (IMU) score less than or equal to 62.0 points. The IMU is a weighted score derived from four criteria:
- Ratio of primary medical care physicians per 1,000 population
- Infant mortality rate
- Percentage of population below the federal poverty level
- Percentage of the population 65 years and older
Geographic areas that are rational areas for the delivery of services and meet the IMU score requirement are eligible for a federal MUA/P designation. Designation is not a competitive process. Any person or organization may apply on behalf of an area. Benefits include:
- Enhanced federal grant eligibility
- Eligibility to apply for federal funding to develop and operate Community Health Centers, Migrant Health Centers, health care for the homeless, Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) and FQHC Look-Alikes.
- Eligibility for enhanced reimbursement for Rural Health Clinics
- Ability to hire J-1 Visa Waiver recipients
MUA/P Designation Process
Federal MUA/P applications are submitted to HRSA by the ADHS’ Shortage Designation Program. MUA/P designations do not expire. Undesignated areas/populations in Arizona are reviewed for MUA/P designation upon request. Contact Tracy Lenartz to for more information.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
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What are Federal Medically Underserved Areas/Populations (MUA/P)?
The federal Medically Underserved Area/Population (MUA/P) designation identifies areas or populations as having a need for medical services on the basis of demographic data that shows that the area/population has either too few primary care providers, high infant mortality, high poverty and/or high elderly population.
What programs utilize MUA/P designation?
These designations are important when seeking Rural Health Clinic, Migrant Health Center, Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC), FQHC Look-Alike or Health Care for the homeless status. J1 visa waiver participants must also be able to demonstrate that the facility they work in is either in a HPSA or a MUA or serves a medically underserved population (MUP).
How do I find out if an area is designated as a Federal Medically Underserved Area or Population?
The best place to verify the MUA/P designation status an area is MUA Finder.
What is the application process for a federal MUA/P?
Applications for MUA/Ps are submitted through the ADHS’ Shortage Designation Program. Federal MUA/P designations do not expire. To request that an undesignated area or population be reviewed for MUA/P designation, contact Tracy Lenartz.
Are MUA/P updates required?
Not at this time. In the future, updates may be required by Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS). It is not the practice of the Shortage Designation Program to withdraw MUA/P designations that no longer meet the criteria.