More than 10,000 primary care providers– largest number in history supported by Obama Administration investments
Washington, DC–(ENEWSPF)–December 14, 2011. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius today announced that the number of participants in the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) has nearly tripled. Today, more than 10,000 National Corps members – doctors, nurses and other health care providers – care for Americans in communities nationwide. Thanks to investments in the National Health Service Corps through the Affordable Care Act, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and annual appropriations, the NHSC has awarded nearly $900 million in scholarships and loan repayment to health care professionals to help expand the country’s primary care workforce and meet the health care needs of communities across the country.
Thanks to the these critical investments in our nation’s health care workforce, there are nearly three times the number of NHSC clinicians working in communities across America than there were three years ago–increasing access to health care and supporting local jobs. In 2008, approximately 3.7 million patients were provided service by 3,600 National Health Service Corps providers. Now in 2011, with field strength of more than 10,000 clinicians, the National Health Service Corps provides health care services to about 10.5 million patients.
“Thanks to the National Health Service Corps, more Americans can see a doctor and get the health care they need,” said HHS Secretary Sebelius. “The investments we made are improving health and creating access to care, fueling economic activity nationwide.”
Established in 1972, the National Health Service Corps, administered by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), has provided health care to communities across the country through the service of more than 41,000 primary health care practitioners over its nearly 40-year history. The NHSC provides financial, professional and educational resources to medical, dental, and mental and behavioral health care providers who bring their skills to areas of the United States with limited access to health care.
“Eighty-two percent of NHSC clinicians continue to serve in high-need areas after they fulfill their service commitment,” said HRSA Administrator Mary Wakefield, Ph.D, R.N. “These awards help ensure that underserved communities across the country have access to quality health care both today and in the future.”
There are currently more than 10,000 National Health Service Corps members and over 17,000 NHSC-approved rural and urban sites across the country from Aberdeen, Washington and McClusky, North Dakota to Akron, Ohio and Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
These competitive awards were made through the following programs:
- The NHSC Loan Repayment Program – 5,418 awards (4,127 new and 1,291 continuations) totaling $253 million from Affordable Care Act, Recovery Act, and FY 2011 base appropriation investments. The loan repayment program provides an initial, tax-free award of up to $60‚000 for two years of service in an underserved community and the opportunity to pay off all health professional student loans with continued service.
- The NHSC Scholarship Program – 247 awards totaling $46 million from Affordable Care Act investments. The scholarship program pays tuition, required fees, and other education costs for as many as four years. Upon graduation, scholarship recipients serve as primary care providers between two and four years at an NHSC-approved site in a high-need Health Professional Shortage Area.
The Health Resources and Services Administration is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. HRSA is the primary federal agency responsible for improving access to health care services for people who are uninsured, isolated, or medically vulnerable. For more information about NHSC programs, please visit http:/www.NHSC.hrsa.gov.
For more information about the Department’s Recovery Act programs, see http:/www.hhs.gov/recovery.