Genetic Service Shortage Areas in the Mountain States Region: What Is Needed?




Dokpesi, Philip
O'Meara, Stephanie
Jegede, Opeyemi
Kaye, Celia
Homan, Sharon


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Purpose: The mission of the Mountain States Genetics Regional Collaborative (MSGRC) is to ensure access to exemplary genetic and newborn screening services in the eight states of the region (Arizona, Colorado, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Utah and Wyoming). The purpose of this research is to identify and map shortage areas for genetics services in the mountain states region. Methods: We mapped the Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs) in MSGRC counties, using the HRSA-designated primary medical care shortage areas. We overlaid on this map the estimated number of birth defects in 2014, as a proxy for the pediatric caseload for geneticists. A contact list of all (53) genetics providers in the region was developed. Each provider organization was contacted to establish the number of physicians seeing genetics patients, genetics counselors, and patients, geographic practice area, and insurance types accepted. Results: Mapping birth defects and genetics providers is a useful method for estimating genetics services shortages, and geographically displaying areas of unmet need. There are genetics health shortage areas in multiple rural and frontier areas in the eight mountain states. Conclusion: The Mountain States have multiple genetics healthcare shortage regions. New advances in telegenetics may address some of these shortages, but it is expected that the rural and frontier areas will continue to have significant shortage areas.