(Washington DC, April 24, 2020) — Today, Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Representative Janice Schakowsky (D-IL) proposed a new plan to increase the nation’s health care workforce and address the overwhelming need of millions of people living in communities with severe workforce shortages.
Senator Durbin and Representative Schakowsky’s proposal includes emergency surge funding to place health care providers in high need communities now, to restore a workforce pipeline to meet the needs of the nation’s underserved communities and to create a “Reserve Corps” for surge capacity during times of crisis and national emergency such as we are currently experiencing.
“More than 80 million people in the United States currently live in communities with severe health professional workforce shortages. These shortages lead to reduced access to primary, dental and mental health care services. These shortages have been exacerbated by the current COVID-19 pandemic, leaving millions more people struggling to access care and support services,” said Amanda Pears Kelly, Executive Director of the Association of Clinicians for the Underserved. Senator Durbin and Representative Schakowsky’s Health Care Heroes proposal takes a bold and visionary approach to address the nation’s health care workforce shortages in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.”
The Health Heroes 2020 Act immediate infusion of emergency funding for the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) would fund more than 200,000 provider placements and more than 63,000 scholarships to medical students, all of whom will provide care in the nation’s most underserved communities. In addition, provisions to support significant sustainable growth for the NHSC will ensure that thousands of additional providers can serve on the front lines of these underserved communities going forward. The proposal will create a solid pipeline of student providers who will pursue careers in clinical fields with significant provider shortfalls and who will ultimately provide care in underserved communities.
In recognition of the dire situations highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic, Senator Durbin and Representative Schakowsky propose the creation of a Reserve Corps of providers who will enlist to provide ongoing terms of service in health profession shortage areas, and specifically be available for deployment in time of crisis and emergency. The creation of a Reserve Corps will strengthen the health care infrastructure to respond should the nation face a similar crisis to COVID-19. A Corps of trained and willing providers will be at the ready to provide care to those most in need.
“Collectively, these provisions serve to address both the current urgent need and build the nation’s health care workforce of the future,” said Pears Kelly. “ACU applauds Senator Durbin and Representative Schakowsky’s visionary approach to addressing the nation’s health care workforce shortages and we look forward to working with Senator Durbin and Representative Shakowsky, along with their Senate and House colleagues to ensure health care providers can be placed in communities of highest need at this vital time, and as long as necessary, to address the nation’s health care workforce shortage crisis as a whole.”
For more information, please go to www.clinicians.org
The Association of Clinicians for the Underserved (ACU) is the ONLY organization that represents all types of clinicians serving in safety net health care facilities across the United States. A large percentage of ACU’s clinical members are veterans of the National Health Service Corps – a historical partner of ACU. Today the NHSC has more than 13,000 participants caring for more than 13 million people across the country. ACU’s membership also includes a variety of safety net organizations including Community Hospitals, Federally Qualified Health Centers, free clinics, mental health centers, public health departments and private practices. ACU members are located in urban, suburban, rural and frontier areas across the country and the one thing that all ACU members have in common is their strong commitment to providing quality health care to those people and communities who need it most.