HHS awards $319M to support National Health Service Corps providers
October 25, 2019 Washington — The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced Oct. 23 that it is providing about $319 million in scholarship and loan repayment awards for dental, medical and behavioral health care clinicians and students through the National Health Service Corps.
This year’s awards, granted through the Health Resources and Services Administration, include $80 million that will support almost 1,250 clinicians providing substance use disorder treatment in underserved communities in an expanded effort to combat the opioid epidemic, according to the HHS.
“President Trump has prioritized improving health care for Americans in rural communities, which includes building a strong, sustainable rural health care workforce,” said HHS Secretary Alex Azar in a news release. “These loan repayment awards and scholarships make it possible for dedicated clinicians to care for the patients who need them most, including Americans with opioid use disorder and other substance abuse challenges.”
The programs receiving awards also include the National Health Service Corps Scholarship Program ($47.6 million), which provides 200 new and 11 continuation awards to students pursuing primary care training leading to a degree in dentistry, medicine or a degree as a nurse-midwife, physician assistant or nurse practitioner in exchange for providing primary health care services in areas of greatest need.
The National Health Service Corps Students to Service Loan Repayment Program will also receive $15.2 million to provide loan repayment assistance to medical and dental students in their last year of school for working in underserved rural and urban areas.
According to the HHS, there are more than 13,000 medical, dental and behavioral health care clinicians in the National Health Service Corps providing quality care to more than 13.7 million Americans in rural, urban and tribal communities. Another 1,480 students and medical residents are preparing to serve in the Corps.
“The NHSC story of service, commitment and community is a powerful one,” said HRSA Acting Administrator Tom Engels. “These awards not only get more [National Health Service Corps] providers into the communities that need them the most, but also help to keep those physicians working there long term.”