McLean, VA – The Association of Clinicians for the Underserved (ACU) applauds the introduction in the House of Representatives of the bipartisan bill H.R. 3862, the National Health Service Corps Strengthening Act of 2017. The legislation was introduced by Representatives G.K. Butterfield (D-NC) and Chris Stewart (R-UT). The bill aims to reauthorize funding for the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) and provide modest increases for the program over the next 5 years.
“ACU appreciates the leadership of Representatives Butterfield and Stewart and urges Congress to get behind this commonsense, bipartisan step to extend funding for this vital health care program,” said Craig A. Kennedy, MPH, Executive Director of ACU. “Supporting the NHSC is not a partisan issue. The value and importance of the Corps is indisputable, providing critical financial support to primary care providers who serve in the highest need areas of our country. We need to strengthen the Corps, as this bill proposes, to ensure we have the workforce we need for our health centers, rural health clinics, community mental health centers, Indian Health Service facilities, and prisons.”
The NHSC program offers financial assistance to recruit and retain health care providers to meet the workforce needs of medically vulnerable communities through four key programs: the Loan Repayment Program, the Scholarship Program, the State Loan Repayment Program, and the Students-to-Service Program. Since 1972, the NHSC has placed more than 50,000 health care professionals, with more than 10,000 placed in the last year alone. Today, 11 million people receive care from a NHSC-supported provider, but the funding for the program was provided only through FY17, which ends September 30th. Congress needs to approve new funding for FY18, or no new awards can be made by the program, effectively eliminating the next generation of NHSC clinicians.
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The Association of Clinicians for the Underserved is a transdisciplinary membership organization of clinicians, advocates, and healthcare organizations that provide health care for the underserved. Our programs include professional education, clinical tools, advocacy, patient education, training and technical assistance. For more information, please visit our website at www.clinicians.org.