On May 24, Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) sent a letter to the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) urging a revision to the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) application process to make it more accessible and attractive to all stakeholders as our country faces a health care workforce shortage.

The Senators wrote, “Currently, the application cycle opens annually in the spring, with awards issued in the fall. This once per year window, coupled with the requirements of the application, does not adequately reflect the sequencing of graduation cycles—and limits the incentive that the NHSC could offer. Those who graduate in late May or June and have a job offer pending would have to wait more than a year to apply and ultimately receive NHSC loan repayment—effectively meaning they could be working three years to receive two years of loan repayment.”

The Senators concluded, “The NHSC is one of the most effective federal tools to encourage desperately needed health care providers to serve in rural and urban areas facing shortages of doctors, nurses, dentists, and behavioral health providers.  But the current structure of the application cycle risks missing new graduates each year who may be interested in serving in the NHSC but cannot wait for the once-a-year cycle to open and practice elsewhere instead.”

Once again, the Association of Clinicians for the Underserved (ACU) applauds the leadership and vision of Senators Durbin and Rubio in their ongoing support to improve the NHSC, a program that enables over 18,000 clinicians to provide primary care and other services to over 19 million people in medically underserved communities across the U.S.

Jordan Marshall, Your ACU Advocacy Contact

Jordan Marshall, Deputy Director of Policy & AdvocacyJordan Marshall is leading ACU’s grassroots advocacy to secure long-term funding for the National Health Service Corps (NHSC). Contact Jordan with any questions regarding policy analysis or if ACU can be of assistance with your own organizational or individual advocacy.