Primary Care Service Area (PCSA)

The availability of excellent primary care is central to high performing health care and favorable patient outcomes. Unfortunately in many regions of the country, residents cannot find the care they want and need. While federal and state programs have made considerable progress in addressing the primary care needs of underserved populations, high quality primary care remains out of reach for many.

The Primary Care Service Area (PCSA) Project offers data and analytic tools to identify primary care clinician supply and needs in communities across the United States, with areas that reflect patients’ travel to primary care. PCSA data can help identify areas with low supply of primary care and safety net providers, and populations with relatively high health risk. The PCSA project also provides information about primary care utilization by the elderly. The PCSA data is free, regularly updated, and can be viewed in tables or displayed as maps. Complete data sets can be downloaded from our Downloads page. Geographic shape files are also available for desktop cartography.

Primary Care Service Areas are the first national database of primary care resources and utilization for small areas. At the heart of the data are 6,542 areas defined by aggregating ZIP areas to reflect Medicare patient travel to primary care providers. These geographic markets of primary care are linked to hundreds of measures relevant to improving the availability of primary cares services. To see how PCSAs relate to other geographies (such as counties), please click here.

Contacts: For questions, email PCSA@dartmouth.edu or call Elisabeth Bryan at (603) 653-0894. The PCSA Project is funded by a contract from the Health Resources and Services Administration.




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The Dartmouth Atlas of Health Care is based at The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice and is supported by a coalition of funders led by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, including the WellPoint Foundation, the United Health Foundation, the California HealthCare Foundation, and the Charles H. Hood Foundation.