Proposes Field Strength of 15,000 for the Program
McLean, VA – The Association of Clinicians for the Underserved (ACU) expressed its strong appreciated for the President’s FY2016 Budget Request for the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) program today. The President’s Budget would expand the program to include 15,000 primary care providers in underserved communities across the country – the current field strength is roughly 8,500 providers. The NHSC program provides loan repayment and scholarships for primary care providers who promise to work in health professional shortage areas of the country.
“We greatly appreciate the President’s strong show of support for the Corps, especially this year as the current funding expires,” said Craig A. Kennedy MPH, ACU’s Executive Director. “We are in a critical year for the future of the NHSC and we are very grateful the President has not only come out in support of its survival, but in support of its expansion. There are millions of people without access to care today that will be helped through this proposal and we look forward to working with Congress to make it a reality.”
The President’s proposed FY16 Budget included $810 million for the program next year. This funding was in two parts: $287.4 million in annual appropriations and another $522.6 million through a new mandatory trust fund mechanism. The Budget Request also proposes to continue the mandatory portion of the funding through FY20, thereby providing $2.6 billion in funding over the next 5 years. The current funding is provided entirely through a trust fund established under the Affordable Care Act, but that funding expires later this year. Prior to the ACA, the NHSC was funded through the annual appropriations process.
The NHSC helps place a variety of primary care providers in federally designated shortage areas of the country. Provider types include: doctors, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, nurse midwives, dental providers, and mental health providers. The program was established over 40 years ago and has helped place more than 45,000 providers.
Founded in 1996 by alumni of the National Health Service Corps (NHSC), the Association of Clinicians for the Underserved (ACU) began the Campaign to Save the NHSC last year in order to extend the program beyond FY2016. ACU is a nonprofit, transdisciplinary organization of clinicians, advocates and health care organizations united in a common mission to improve the health of America’s underserved populations and to enhance the development and support of the health care clinicians serving these populations.