Earlier today, Congress passed the American Rescue Plan, the most recent COVID-19 relief package intended to support the nation’s ongoing economic pandemic recovery. ACU is incredibly pleased to share that $800 million in new funding for the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) was included within the final legislation.
ACU was proud to lead a coalition of stakeholders in advocating for emergency funding for the NHSC in this legislation as a way to address the strains endured by the healthcare workforce and the communities they serve throughout the pandemic. Without question, the power of advocacy has never been better demonstrated than in the work to obtain this critically needed infusion of funding to support the placement of clinicians in underserved communities across the nation.
In addition to the $800 million provided for the National Health Service Corps, the American Rescue Plan will invest tens of billions into critically needed programming and resources to support everything from the public health workforce, vaccine testing, and surveillance, to vaccine administration, distribution, and more. In particular, the relief bill provides $200 million in funding for the Nurse Corps, $7.6 billion in funding for the Health Centers Program, and $330 million for the Teaching Health Centers Program.
While we should celebrate today’s historic investment in the NHSC and other key programs critical to caring for the underserved, our work is far from over. Congress has already begun work on fiscal year 2022 appropriations, and we will need forceful and persistent advocacy to ensure not only ongoing but additional funding for the NHSC. You can expect advocacy updates and calls to action, some on short notice, asking for your help in making the case to your Members of Congress for additional support for the NHSC.
That said, today we want to thank each of you, our advocates, for your incredible work, dedication and commitment to caring for the underserved in the face of unprecedented challenges you and your families have faced over the last year. Today’s historic infusion of funding in the NHSC is now a reality in large part because of you, your voice, your advocacy, and your work which demonstrates daily the critical role and value of the NHSC in communities across the nation.
Amanda Pears Kelly
Association of Clinicians for the Underserved