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HHS Awards $320 Million to Expand Primary Care

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, September 29, 2010

Making good on a promise to fortify the primary care workforce, Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is awarding $320 million in ACA funds, $167.3 million of which will expand primary care residency programs.

"With these grants, Americans from all backgrounds will have new opportunities to enter the healthcare workforce," Sebelius said in a statement.

The primary residency expansion will fund 82 accredited training programs with five-year grants to increase training in general pediatrics, general internal medicine, and family medicine.  The grantees will help new enrollees in three-year primary care residency training, which by 2015 will support training for 889 new primary care residents above the number currently being trained.

Another $67 million will be awarded in Health Profession Opportunity Grants to help low-income individuals train for careers in healthcare. It will provide 32 grants in 23 states for training to be home care aides, certified nursing assistants, medical assistants, pharmacy technicians, emergency medical technicians, licensed vocational nurses, registered nurses, dental assistants, and health information technicians.

An additional $30.1 million will expand physician assistant training with 28 primary care physician assistant training programs for five years. The students will receive $22,000 each per year for two years. More than 700 physician assistants will receive funding with more than 600 expected to be fully trained by 2015.

The advanced nursing education expansion program will receive $31 million for 26 schools of nursing for nurse practitioner and nurse midwife programs. The effort is expected to award more than 1,300 primary care nursing stipends during the five-year program. The expansion should add 600 nurse practitioners and nurse midwifes to the workforce by 2015.

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