The Biden administration has provided $ 1.5 billion in scholarships and student loan assistance for students and healthcare professionals, as part of efforts to diversify the workforce and reduce labor shortages in underserved communities.
In March, Congress approved an influx of funding for the National Health Service Corps, Nursing Corps and Behavioral Health Programs, which increased scholarships and disbursements by 27% this year, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.
“Thanks to the American Rescue Plan, we now have a record number of doctors, dentists, nurses and behavioral health professionals serving over 23.6 million patients in underserved communities,” HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said in a press release on Monday.
A total of $ 1.5 billion will be used to support the nearly 23,000 providers participating in the three programs, according to the White House.
The programs are funded through an annual appropriation process, but increased funding through the COVID-19 Congressional relief package adopted earlier this year will help reach more students and healthcare professionals.
“There is a turn for students and residents to apply to participate in this program to not only reduce their debt, but also return money to low-income communities,” said Matthew Schick, senior director of government relations and regulatory affairs at the Association. American medical colleges. “The increase in funding will not only affect those currently in line, but will also attract more applicants.”
According to Report of the Accounts Chamber of the Government released in April.
However, of the 6,644 people who applied in 2020 for the NHSC’s largest program, the general loan repayment program, about 14% were rejected despite having worked in areas with a shortage of health professionals and could have received assistance. if there were more funding, according to the Government Accounts Chamber. report this year.
The Biden administration hopes the additional funding will also help diversify the workforce. Only about 7% of doctors identify themselves as black or Hispanic. A quarter of the doctors on the NHS are black or Hispanic.
“These professionals will look like Americans and be better equipped to provide equal assistance to America,” Vice President Kamala Harris said at an event on Monday. …
The domestic policy package that Congress is currently working on includes an additional $ 850 million for NHSC and Nurse Corps programs.