In accordance with the provisions of § 32.1-122.5 of the Code of Virginia, the State Board of Health is required to establish criteria for determining medically underserved areas within the Commonwealth and include in these criteria the need for medical care services in the state facilities operated by the Departments of Corrections, Juvenile Justice, and Behavioral Health and Developmental Services. The criteria are required to be quantifiable measures, sensitive to the unique characteristics of urban and rural jurisdictions.
The purpose of identifying medically underserved areas within
the Commonwealth is to establish geographic areas in need of additional primary
health care services.
These areas may be selected by trained primary care
physicians and other health professionals as practice sites in fulfillment of
obligations that the physicians and other health professionals accepted in
return for medical training and scholarship grant assistance. Each year of
practice in a medically underserved area satisfies the repayment requirement of
a year of scholarship support from the Virginia Medical Scholarship Program.
Additionally, these medically underserved areas will be eligible locations for
practicing primary care physicians and other health professionals participating
in the state or federal physician loan repayment programs. Further, these
medically underserved areas may become eligible for assistance , state or
federal, to establish primary care medical centers.
Designating Medically Underserved Areas
12VAC5-540-30. Criteria for determining medically underserved areas.
EDITOR'S NOTE: The proposed amendments to this section were not adopted in the final regulations; therefore, no changes are made to this section.
The following [ five ] criteria, as available, and
as indicated, shall be used to evaluate and identify medically underserved
areas throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia [
and the criteria
shall be applied at a minimum five-year interval using the most recent data
available to update the designations ]:
1. Percentage of population with income at or below 100% of the
federal poverty level. The source for these data shall be the most recent available
publication of the Bureau of the Census of the U.S. Department of Commerce
or appropriate intercensorial estimates of poverty accepted by the
Health Resources and Services Administration Shortage Designation Branch for
federal health professional shortage area and medically underserved area
2. Percentage of population that is 65 years of age or older.
The source for these data shall be the [
Bureau of the Census of the
U.S. Department of Commerce, or the latest estimates from the Weldon Cooper
Center for Public Service at the University of Virginia, or the ]
Economic Services Division of the Virginia Employment Commission.
3. The primary care physician to population ratio. The source
for these data shall be the [ Department of Family Practice of the Medical
College of Virginia of Virginia Commonwealth University
Department of Health Professions, or Board of Medicine physician profile
database. Primary care physicians are defined as board certified or
self-designated generalist practitioners who practice family medicine,
pediatrics, internal medicine, or obstetrics/gynecology ].
4. The four-year aggregate infant mortality rate. The source
for these data shall be the [ Center
most recent four-year infant
mortality data for each jurisdiction from the Division ] of Health
Statistics of the Virginia Department of Health.
5. The most recent [ annual
quarterly ] civilian unemployment rate [ for each
jurisdiction ]. The source for these data shall be [ the ]
Information Services Division of the Virginia Employment Commission.
6. Medical care services in state facilities
operated by the Departments of Corrections, Juvenile Justice, and Behavioral
Health and Developmental Services shall be deemed Virginia medically
underserved areas. ]
12VAC5-540-40. Application of the criteria.
A. Determining medically underserved cities and counties. The
criteria enumerated in 12VAC5-540-30 shall be used to construct a numerical
index by which the relative degree of medical underservice shall be calculated
for each city and county within the Commonwealth. Observations for each of the
criteria will be listed for each Virginia city and county. An interval scale will
be used to assign a particular value to each observation. This will be done for
each of the five criteria. Each interval scale will consist of four
ranges or outcomes of observations. The ranges will be numerically equal. The
four ranges will be labeled as Level 1, Level 2, Level 3, and Level 4. The
numerical difference between the ranges will be established beginning with the
Level 2 range.
The Level 2 range shall have the statewide average for each respective criterion, except the population to primary care physician ratio, as its upper limit. The Level 2 upper limit for the primary care physician to population ratio is established by dividing the difference between the Level 4 upper limit for this criterion and the Level 1 upper limit by two. Each observation which is equal to or less than the Level 2 upper limit, but greater than the Level 1 upper limit, will be assigned a numerical value of two.
The Level 1 range shall have an upper limit which is the quotient of the statewide average divided by two. For the ratio of population to primary care physician criterion, the upper limit of Level 1 shall be the ratio 2500:1 as recommended by the American Academy of Family Physicians. Each observation that is equal to or less than the Level 1 upper limit will be assigned a numerical value of one.
The Level 3 range shall have an upper limit that is equal to the sum of the upper limit of the Level 1 range and the upper limit of the Level 2 range. For the ratio of population to primary care physician criterion, the upper limit of level 3 shall be established at 3500:1, the federal standard for designating health manpower shortage areas. Each observation that is equal to or less than the Level 3 upper limit will be assigned a numerical value of three.
The Level 4 range will include any observation greater than the upper limit of Level 3 range. Each observation in the Level 4 range will be assigned a numerical value of four.
The values for each of the ranges of the
will be summed for each Virginia city and county. Each Virginia city and county
will have an assigned value of five or greater, to a maximum of 20. A statewide
average value will be determined by summing the total city and county values
and dividing by the number of cities and counties. Any city or county assigned
a value that is greater than the statewide average value shall be considered
medically underserved. The application of criteria for determining medically
underserved cities and counties shall be performed annually and published by
B. Determining medically underserved areas within cities and counties. Geographic subsections of cities or counties may be designated as medically underserved areas when the entire city or county is not eligible if the subsection has: (i) a population to primary care physician ratio equal to or greater than 3500:1; and (ii) a population whose rate of poverty is greater than the statewide average poverty rate; and (iii) a minimum population of 3,500 persons residing in a contiguous, identifiable, geographic area. The board shall from time to time, on petition of any person, or as a result of its own decision, apply criteria for determining medically underserved subareas of cities and counties. Once determined to be medically underserved, any subarea of a city or county shall appear on the next list of medically underserved areas published by the board. Areas which qualify as medically underserved areas under 12VAC5-540-40 A and that are within Standard Metropolitan Areas as defined by the U.S. Department of Commerce, must also qualify under this section for purposes of placement of health professionals.
C. Medical care services in state facilities
operated by the Departments of Corrections, Juvenile Justice, and Behavioral
Health and Developmental Services will be deemed Virginia medically underserved