The Government Accountability Office urged HHS to finish a proposal to revamp how the federal government designates regions, populations and facilities as being short of primary-care professionals. More than 30 federal programs use status as a health professional shortage area to assign benefits or funding, the GAO said in a report. HHS proposed new regulations for health professional shortage areas in 1998, but the agency withdrew its suggestions after receiving nearly 800 public comments on the proposal. The GAO identified 5,500 shortage areas and called on HHS to remove those that dont quality or have failed to prove their eligibility. -- by Melanie Evans
Shortage-area rules need work: GAO
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