HHS has made available $200 million targeted for grants, loans, loan repayment, and scholarships to expand the training of healthcare workers.
The new money–part of the $500 million allotted to HHS' Health Resources and Services Administration in the $787 billion stimulus packages–is expected to train approximately 8,000 students and credentialed health professionals by the end of fiscal year 2010. Competitive bidding will be used to award all funds, some of which will be released over the next several months.
The $200 million will be directed to the following program areas:
- $80.2 million for scholarships, loans, and loan repayment awards to students, health professionals, and faculty. Of those funds, $39 million will be targeted to nurses and nurse faculty, $40 million to disadvantaged students in a wide range of health professions, and $1.2 million to health professions faculty from disadvantaged backgrounds.
- $50 million in grants to health professions training programs. Funds will be used to purchase equipment needed to expand programs and improve training.
- $47.6 million to support primary care training programs. These funds will support the training of residents, medical students, physician assistants, dentists, and individuals, many of whom will practice in underserved areas.
- $10.5 million to strengthen the public health workforce, including increasing the number of people trained in preventive medicine and dental public health residencies.
- $10.2 million to increase the diversity of the healthcare workforce.
- $1.5 million to support state professional licensing boards in reducing barriers to telemedicine.
- The remaining $300 million will be used to expand HRSA's National Health Service Corps, which provides scholarships and loan repayment for primary care providers who serve in health professional shortage areas. In addition, HRSA received $2 billion in stimulus money to expand healthcare services to low-income and uninsured people through its health center program.
John Commins is a senior editor with HealthLeaders Media.