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Capps Applauds New Investments in Primary Care Workforce in CA, Encourages Constituents to Apply
More than 10,000 Primary Care Providers in the U.S. Supported by Obama Administration Investments in National Health Service Corps -- Largest Number in History
WASHINGTON-Today Congresswoman Lois Capps (CA-23) applauded the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) successful efforts to expand the National Health Service Corps (NHSC), increasing access to primary care in both urban and rural areas and supporting health care jobs in our local communities. On the Central Coast, portions of San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Ventura Counties including Santa Maria, Guadalupe, Lompoc, Orcutt, Paso Robles, and Oxnard have all been designated as areas in need of greater access to primary medical care, dental care, and mental healthcare.
HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced that the number of participants in the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) has nearly tripled throughout the nation in the past three years. California now has 1640 NHSC approved sites in both rural and urban areas including Community Health Centers of the Central Coast, the Santa Barbara Country Public Health Department, the Ventura County Public Health Care Agency, and Clinicas Del Camino Real.
In 2011, 537 new scholarship and loan repayment awardees were announced in California to further expand the program. Doctors, nurses, and other health care providers looking to join the National Health Service Corps can learn more at http:/www.NHSC.hrsa.gov
Increasing access to primary care is one of the best ways to make us all healthier and it will reduce health care costs now and in the future. By providing assistance to skilled doctors, nurses, and other health care workers on the Central Coast who want to go into primary care and serve those most in need, we are going to catch small health problems early. This is about improving health care for all Americans,” said Capps.
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 across the country. This funding will help expand the country’s primary care workforce and meet the health care needs of communities nationwide.
Because of 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, 3,600 providers served approximately 3.7 million patients. Now, in 2011 with a 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 Health and Human Services Secretary Sebelius. “The investments we made are improving health and creating access to care, fueling economic activity nationwide.”
In California, there are 1640 NHSC-approved rural and urban sites (431 sites currently have an NHSC clinician).
In FY 2011, competitive awards totaling $29,818,662 were made to 537 new awardees in California through the following programs:
- The NHSC Loan Repayment Program: 505 new awards were made to providers in California in FY 2011. These awards were funded by the 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: 32 new awards from Affordable Care Act investments were made to providers in California in FY 2011. 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