The government has just sweetened the pot with a $ 319 million infusion for loan repayment and scholarship programs to doctors and other health professionals serving in underserved communities.
Good news for doctors already in debt to medical schools, the US Department of Health (HHS) announced Wednesday that it was through the National Health Service Corps (NHSC).
NHSC, a program managed by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), offers health care physicians scholarships and student loan repayment in exchange for serving communities in need.
The money is intended to support providers of health workers who take care of the underserved. With additional providers to join NHSC service, there are now more than 13,000 medical, dental, and behavioral clinicians serving more than 13.7 million Americans in rural, urban, and indigenous communities, HHS said. There are also more than 1,480 college and medical students preparing for their service in the NHSC.
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The funds will help build health workforces in rural areas and help fight the country’s opioid epidemic.
“These loan repayment awards and grants enable dedicated clinicians to care for the patients who need them most, including Americans with opioid use disorders and other substance abuse challenges,” said HHS Secretary Alex Azar.
The funding includes $ 80 million to support nearly 1,250 clinicians providing treatment for addictions in underserved communities, including more than 2,000 rural locations. These providers commit to three-year loan repayment contracts to ensure sustainable impact and continuity of care for these communities.
“Not only do these awards bring more NHSC providers to the communities that need them most, but they also help keep those doctors working there long-term,” said Tom Engels, deputy HRSA administrator.
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The NHSC is part of the federal government’s health safety net programs. More than 60% of NHSC participants work in government-funded community health centers.
HHS has recognized the following programs: