Tuesday, June 22, 2010

HHS to Invest $250 Million to Boost Primary Care Workforce

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that it will invest $250 million to boost the primary care workforce in an effort to address a predicted shortage of physicians in the field. The funds will be derived from the Prevention and Public Health Fund, which has $500 million for fiscal year 2010.

HHS intends to spend the $250 million on the following main initiatives:

  • $160 million for the creation of 500 new residency slots in primary care
  • $32 million to train 600 physician assistants
  • $30 million to fund the full-time education of 600 nursing students
  • $15 million to support nurse-managed clinics
  • $5 million to help states plan for the primary care shortage
  • Training of 16,000 new primary care providers over the next five years

The Association of American Medical Colleges is predicting that the US will face a shortage of 21,000 primary care providers by 2015. The shortage is due to a combination of various factors including: fewer medical school graduates going into primary care, an aging population, and the expected patient increase resulting from expanded health coverage.

Source: BNA

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