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GAO report: Many Underserved Areas Lack a Health Center Site

The Government Accountability Office was asked to examine to what extent medically underserved areas (MUAs) lacked health center sites in 2006 and 2007. To do this, GAO obtained and analyzed HRSA data, grant applications, and the written feedback provided to unsuccessful grant applicants and interviewed HRSA officials.

They found that grant awards for new health center sites in 2007 reduced the overall percentage of MUAs lacking a health center site from 47 percent in 2006 to 43 percent in 2007. In addition, GAO found wide geographic variation in the percentage of MUAs that lacked a health center site in both years. Most of the 2007 nationwide decline in the number of MUAs that lacked a site occurred in the South census region, in large part, because half of all awards made in 2007 for new health center sites were granted to the South census region. GAO also found that HRSA lacks readily available data on the services provided at individual health center sites.