HHS announces new $250 investment to increase primary health care professionals
By Melissa Coon
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Washington, June 16 – U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, U.S. Representatives Lois Capps, Co-Chair of the House Nursing Caucus, HHS Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Administrator Dr. Mary Wakefield and HHS Assistant Secretary for Health Dr. Howard Koh today announced a series of new investments worth $250 million to increase the number of primary health providers.
These funds, which were made possible by the Affordable Care Act, will be used to increase training opportunities and build infrastructures.
According to Wakefield, $168 million will go towards expanding primary healthcare training in community settings, $32 million will be used to increase the number of physician’s assistants, and $30 million will be allocated to increase the number of trained nurse practitioners.
Additionally, $15 million will be used to create 10 new nurse-managed health centers, while an additional $5 million will help encourage states to address healthcare needs.
“The new investments will strengthen our primary care workforce to ensure that more Americans can get the quality care they need to stay healthy,” said Sebelius. “Primary care providers are on the front line in helping Americans stay healthy by preventing disease, treating illness, and helping to manage chronic conditions.”
Capps said that she has witnessed Americans need for primary healthcare and applauded the Obama Administration for recognizing this.
“This critical investment will help alleviate the current shortage of primary health care providers including physicians, physician assistants and nurses,” she said. “Increasing the number of primary care professionals will allow us to place an increased emphasis on preventive care and wellness – something I’ve devoted my life to as a public health nurse -- making this country healthier in the long run."
Koh added that an estimated 60 million Americans live in a community where they cannot access a healthcare provider. He said it is vital that Americans have access to well-trained healthcare professionals that can provide them with service whenever necessary.
“The health of the community determines the health of our nation,” he said.
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