The federal government made clear its intentions to expand the nation's primary care workforce recently with HHS' announcement that more than $149 million had been awarded by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to help fund a variety of education and training programs.
According to a July 20 HHS press release,(www.hhs.gov) HRSA grants were awarded to 12 workforce programs to help them prepare diverse primary care professionals to work in interprofessional health care teams.
HRSA Acting Administrator Jim Macrae, M.A., M.P.P., said the awards would help "increase access to quality health care for all Americans by educating and training culturally competent providers who are prepared to practice in high-need areas."
Macrae said HRSA's intention when awarding the grants was to "positively impact every aspect of the health care professional's career, from education and training to service." He said the awards would help increase the number of physicians and other health care professionals willing and able to serve the nation's underserved and vulnerable patients.
Programs received awards in varying amounts and for specific purposes, including
- $14.5 million devoted to primary care training delivered through 33 grants to hospitals, medical schools and other entities to boost quality and quantity and improve distribution and diversity of the primary care workforce by enhancing curriculum and expanding training programs;
- $4.4 million for six grants to improve clinical teaching and research in primary care training;
- $7.7 million for 31 grants to help prepare psychologists to use an integrated and professional approach to address behavioral health needs of underserved and rural populations, as well as to integrate behavioral health into primary care practice;
- $7.4 million for 20 grants to train postdoctoral health care professionals in primary care research; and
- $42.3 million to 78 health professions schools to provide scholarships to students from disadvantaged backgrounds who demonstrate financial need to increase diversity in the primary care workforce.
HRSA's operating budget for fiscal year 2016(www.hhs.gov) is $10.4 billion, including $1.8 billion for HRSA workforce programs.
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