HRSA Finalizes Maternity Care Target Area Shortage Designation Criteria


Earlier this summer the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) released the criteria the agency intends to use when identifying an area as a Maternity Care Target Area (MCTA). MCTAs are geographic areas within health professional shortage areas (HPSAs) that have a shortage of maternity care health professionals, for the purpose of providing maternity health care assistance to such health professional shortage areas (i.e., deploying National Health Service Corps certified nurse-midwives and ob-gyns to these areas). Nearly 55% of HPSAs are located in rural areas. An MCTA score will be generated for each primary care HPSA using the HPSA’s service area.


The following six scoring criteria will be included in a composite scale that will be used to identify MCTAs with the greatest shortage of maternity care health professionals: (1) Ratio of females ages 15–44 -to-full time equivalent maternity care health professional ratio; (2) percentage of females 15–44 with income at or below 200 percent of the FPL; (3) travel time and distance to the nearest provider trained and licensed to provide the necessary care; (4) fertility rate; (5) the SVI; and (6) Maternal Health Index which contains the following six indicators: Pre-pregnancy obesity, pre-pregnancy diabetes, pre-pregnancy hypertension, prenatal care initiation in the first trimester, cigarette smoking, and the behavioral health factor. Each of these six criteria will be assigned a relative weight based on the significance of that criterion relative to all the others. The weighted scores will be summed to develop a composite MCTA score ranging from zero to 25, with 25 indicating the greatest need for maternity care health professionals in the MCTA. Accordingly, the higher the composite score, the higher the degree of need for maternity care health services.


For more information, see the full report.