Friday, October 15, 2021 (HealthDay News) – The National Health Service Corps will receive $ 100 million to help address the shortage of U.S. health workers, the White House announced Thursday.
This is a fivefold increase in funding from previous years for a program that helps find primary care physicians for communities struggling to recruit and retain them, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NBC News reported.
In exchange for a number of years of care in areas where health care providers are lacking, doctors are offered loans and scholarships.
“COVID has basically caused a laser focus on the conspicuous gaps and dysfunctions in the American health care system,” said Tener Veenema, a scholar who focuses on staffing issues at Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Health Safety. NBC News. “It is so important to make investments to distribute healthcare providers to rural areas, low-resource areas, because we know how much they suffer from a lack of access to good healthcare.”
The latest statistics show that the United States lost 17,500 health workers in September and 524,000 since the beginning of the pandemic, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
“Whether you’re in rural America or in a low-income part of America, that should not be a reason why you can not access good quality health care,” the U.S. Secretary of Health said. and human services, Xavier Becerra said. NBC News. “And that’s why we want to help states that they will try to do what they can to keep the public health workforce in the rural communities, in the low-income communities, where people need it.”
States can apply for grants until April and the HHS predicts that it will award up to 50 grants of $ 1 million a year over the course of four years.
“With these funds, states can design programs that optimize the choice of disciplines and service locations, and adjust the length of service commitments to address the areas of greatest need in their communities,” said Diana Espinosa, acting administrator of Health Resources and Services Administration, which oversees the program, tells NBC News. “This investment will have a huge impact on access to primary care and addressing health inequalities at a critical time.”
The project will only be launched in September 2022, so it does not have an immediate effect on the shortage of health workers, but will help in the long run, NBC News reported.
Visit the American Association of Medical Colleges for more information on nursing shortage.
SOURCE: NBC News