Is the Nation’s Primary Care Shortage as Bad as Federal Data Suggest?

Federal policymakers are increasing funding and proposing legislation to address the shortage of primary care providers in underserved areas. However, there is a lack of consistent national data to accurately identify these shortage areas and measure the effectiveness of policies. The existing shortage list has areas that have been on it for over 40 years, and there are issues with how shortage areas are identified and measured. Despite efforts to update the rules and methods for identifying shortage areas, there is still a need for more accurate and improved methodologies to target resources to the highest-need communities.

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