October 23, 2019
HHS Awards $319 Million to Support Health Workforce Providers Caring for the Underserved
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), announced $319 million in scholarship and loan repayment awards for clinicians and students through the National Health Service Corps (NHSC).
With these providers entering NHSC service, there are now more than 13,000 medical, dental and behavioral health care clinicians providing quality care to more than 13.7 million Americans in rural, urban and tribal communities. There are also almost 1,480 students and medical residents preparing to serve in the Corps.
"President Trump has prioritized improving healthcare for Americans in rural communities, which includes building a strong, sustainable rural healthcare workforce," said HHS Secretary Alex Azar. "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."
This year's awards significantly expand the NHSC's efforts to combat the opioid epidemic in areas of greatest need. The investment includes $80 million that will support almost 1,250 clinicians providing substance use disorder treatment in underserved communities, including at more than 2,000 rural sites. These providers commit to three-year loan repayment contracts, ensuring sustained impact and continuity of care for these communities.
"The NHSC story of service, commitment, and community is a powerful one. These awards not only get more NHSC providers into the communities that need them the most, but also help to keep those physicians working there long term," said HRSA Acting Administrator Tom Engels.
The NHSC is a critical component of the federal government's health care safety net programs. More than 60% of NHSC participants work in federally funded community health centers, which provide a lifeline to quality health care in high-need communities throughout the nation.
HHS awards support the following programs:
National Health Service Corps Loan Repayment Program ($156.7 million) provides 4,012 new and 2,385 continuation awards to fully trained, licensed primary care clinicians in exchange for providing primary health care services in an area of greatest need.
National Health Service Corps Substance Use Disorder Workforce Loan Repayment Program ($66.0 million) provides 1,074 new awards to recruit and retain health professionals in underserved areas to expand access to substance use disorder treatment and prevent overdose deaths.
National Health Service Corps Rural Community Loan Repayment Program ($14.1 million) provides 174 new awards to health care providers working to combat the opioid epidemic in the nation's rural communities.
National Health Service Corps Scholarship Program ($47.6 million) provides 200 new and 11 continuation awards to students pursuing primary care training leading to a degree in medicine, dentistry, 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.
National Health Service Corps Students to Service Loan Repayment Program ($15.2 million) provides 127 new awards. This program provides loan repayment assistance to medical and dental students in their last year of school in return for their choosing primary care as a practice focus and working in rural and urban areas of greatest need.
National Health Service Corps State Loan Repayment Program ($19.0 million) provides cost-sharing grants to 41 states and two territories that operate their own loan repayment programs, funding 1,957 new and continuation awards.
For more than four decades, the NHSC has provided care in the highest need areas of the United States. Learn more about NHSC. Like NHSC on Facebook, follow NHSC on LinkedIn and Twitter @NHSCorps, and sign up for HRSA email updates.