National Health Service Corps expands the primary care workforce

Oct. 10, 2014

Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell announced that because of the Affordable Care Act, $283 million has been invested in the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) in fiscal year 2014 to increase access to primary care services in communities that need it most.  Today, more than 9,200 Corps clinicians are providing care to approximately 9.7 million patients across the country.

“Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, programs like the National Health Service Corps increase the primary care workforce in the communities that need it most,” said Secretary Burwell.  “These investments are another example of how the law is working to deliver accessible, affordable, quality care.”

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.

“Primary care clinicians are the backbone of our health system, and thanks to the Affordable Care Act, programs like the National Health Service Corps increase the primary care workforce in medically underserved urban, rural and Tribal communities,” said HRSA Administrator Mary K. Wakefield, Ph.D., R.N. “In fiscal year 2014, we provided more than 5,100 loan repayment and scholarship awards to clinicians and students, and grants to 38 states to support state loan repayment programs.”

Since 2008, the number of primary care providers in the National Health Service Corps has more than doubled through the Recovery Act and the Affordable Care Act and grants to states through the National Health Service Corps State Loan Repayment Program have increased nearly 50 percent.

In addition to Corps clinicians currently providing care, approximately 1,100 students, residents, and health providers in the National Health Service Corps pipeline are in training and preparing to enter practice.

Doctors in the first class of the National Health Service Corps Student to Service (S2S) Loan Repayment Program are completing their residency training in 2015; their entry into service will double the number of new physicians entering the workforce from the Corps pipeline.

Today’s announcement comes on the NHSCs’ annual Corps Community Day.  Each October during National Primary Care Week, Corps Community Day celebrates the impact of the NHSC on improving access to primary care and highlights the importance of the primary care workforce. Dozens of events will be held across the country throughout the month of October.

For more information about NHSC programs, please visit NHSC.hrsa.gov.

For more information about Corps Community Day activities, visithttp://nhsc.hrsa.gov/corpsexperience/corpscommunityday/.

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