Tucked into the Obama Administration’s stimulus bill is $200 million to support student loan repayments for primary-care physicians, dentists and mental health specialists who devote two years to working at National Health Service Corps sites. Approximately 3,300 awards are being made to individuals serving in health centers, rural health clinics and healthcare facilities that treat the uninsured and people living in under served areas.
Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, notes that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act “has laid the foundation for health reform and is supporting our effort to give more people access to the quality, affordable healthcare they need. National Health Service Corps has helped protect the health and well-being of millions of Americans. Now, we are doubling the Corps and putting doctors and clinicians in the communities where they are desperately needed.”
The additional funding should double the number of corps members “and the number of patients they care for, and spark economic growth in communities hard hit by the economic turndown,” according to Mary Wakefield, administrator of the Health Resources and Services Administration, which manages the corps.