HHS Awards More Than $240 Million to Expand the Primary Care Workforce

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Posted: Tuesday, October 20, 2015 9:12 pm

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell announced more than $240 million, including about $176 million in Affordable Care Act funding, to support the National Health Service Corps and NURSE Corps scholarship and loan repayment programs to increase access to primary health care in the communities that need it most.

“The most critical step in connecting people to quality health care is a primary care provider,” said Secretary Burwell. “These awards provide financial support directly to health professionals, including physicians, registered nurses, and physician assistants, to help individuals, particularly the 17.6 million uninsured who have recently gained coverage, find the primary care services they need.”

These programs provide funding to primary care clinicians and students in exchange for their service in underserved communities. They also assist in removing financial barriers for health professionals interested in practicing a primary care discipline, enabling them to pursue community-based careers.

This announcement coincides with the NHSCs’ annual Corps Community Month. Each October, the observance celebrates the impact of the NHSC and highlights the importance of choosing a career in primary care.

Today, more than 9,600 NHSC primary care medical, dental, nursing and behavioral and mental health practitioners are serving and providing culturally competent care to millions of medically underserved people, more than double the number in 2008. Additionally, more than 2,000 NURSE Corps nurses are also working in communities to improve access to care. The bipartisan Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act which the President signed into law in April extends funding for the NHSC for two additional years.

“These awards not only strengthen our primary health care workforce, but increase access to primary care in urban, rural and frontier locations nationwide,” said HRSA Acting Administrator Jim Macrae. “Collectively, these programs are serving millions of Americans who rely on the National Health Service Corps and NURSE Corps clinicians for essential health care services.”

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

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