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Washington, DC – Today, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services awarded $130 million in grants to strengthen and expand the health professions workforce. The grants include $88.7 million in funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Maryland will receive over $1 million in State Health Professional Grants which can be used for equipment, training programs for health care professionals and student loan repayment programs.
Six areas are targeted for funding: primary care workforce training, oral health workforce training, equipment to enhance training across the health professions, loan repayments for health professionals, health careers opportunity programs for disadvantaged students, and Patient Navigator outreach and chronic disease prevention in health disparity populations.
“Addressing health workforce shortages has always been one of my top priorities, particularly shortages in primary care,” said Congressman John Sarbanes. “These federal grants will make it easier for qualified individuals to enter primary care and provide greater access, increased affordability and improved quality of health care for patients.”
Congressman Sarbanes worked to include several provisions in the health care reform law that would provide additional scholarships and loan repayment programs for primary care providers in health shortage areas, strengthened grant programs for primary care training, a 10 percent bonus under Medicare for primary care services, and redistribution of unused residency slots to medical programs that train more primary care physicians and general surgeons.
“These are significant steps in the right direction but our work is far from complete,” said Congressman John Sarbanes. “We must continue to find innovative solutions to bring more physicians into primary care while reducing barriers that prevent them from doing so.”
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