The Biden administration has awarded $1.5 billion in scholarships and pupil mortgage compensation help for college students and healthcare employees, a part of an effort to diversify the workforce and ease shortages in underserved communities.
Congress in March handed an funding inflow for the Nationwide Well being Service Corps, Nurse Corps and behavioral well being workforce applications, which elevated scholarships and mortgage compensation awards by 27% this yr, in accordance with the Well being and Human Providers Division.
“Due to the American Rescue Plan, we now have a file variety of medical doctors, dentists, nurses and behavioral well being suppliers treating greater than 23.6 million sufferers in underserved communities,” stated HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra in a information launch Monday.
In whole, the $1.5 billion will help practically 23,000 suppliers taking part in these three applications, in accordance with the White Home.
The applications are funded via the annual appropriations course of, however a funding enhance beneath Congress’ COVID-19 aid bundle handed earlier this yr will assist attain extra college students and well being employees.
“There’s a line out the door of scholars and residents who need to apply to this program, to not solely cut back their debt however to provide again to underserved communities,” stated Matthew Shick, senior director of presidency relations and regulatory affairs for the Affiliation of American Medical Schools. “The rise in funding won’t solely handle these at present in line however entice extra candidates.”
In 2020, the NHSC helped 14,000 main care, dental and psychological well being suppliers in well being skilled scarcity areas with pupil mortgage compensation or scholarships, in accordance with a Authorities Accountability Workplace report launched in April.
Nonetheless, of the 6,644 individuals who utilized in 2020 for NHSC’s largest program, the overall mortgage compensation program, about 14% have been rejected regardless of working in well being skilled scarcity areas and will have obtained help if extra funding have been out there, in accordance with a Authorities Accountable Workplace report this yr.
The Biden administration hopes the additional funding may also assist diversify the workforce. Solely about 7% of physicians establish as Black or Latino. One-quarter of physicians taking part within the Nationwide Well being Service Corps are Black or Latino.
“These professionals will appear like America and be higher ready to offer equitable care to America,” Vice President Kamala Harris stated at an occasion Monday. .
The home coverage bundle Congress is engaged on proper now would supply one other $850 million for the NHSC and Nurse Corps applications.