Baltimore, MD – Earlier today Congressman John Sarbanes along with Senator Barbara A. Mikulski and Congressman Elijah E. Cummings joined U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Mary Wakefield, Health Resources and Services Administration Administrator at Total Health Care to announce the opening of the next application cycle for the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) program. The NHSC, through scholarship and loan repayment programs, helps Health Professional Shortage Areas in the U.S. get medical, dental and mental health providers to meet their tremendous need for health care.
“The National Health Service Corps is a critical program that places qualified health care workers in communities with shortages and also helps to alleviate the significant student debt that so many medical professionals accrue when getting their education," said Sarbanes. "The NHSC helps providers like Total Health Care ensure that working families get the care they need.”
“As we continue to seek ways to impact both the primary care workforce shortage and the increasing debt burden on new providers, NHSC serves as a model for addressing both challenges simultaneously,” said Secretary Sebelius. “Increasing access to primary care physicians who can support the physical and mental well-being of individuals can help prevent disease and illness, and ensure that more people – regardless of where they live – have access to comprehensive, high quality care.”
Total Health Care is a Federally Qualified Health Center that has provided a full spectrum of health care services to the Baltimore community for more than 40 years. Total Health Care has participated in NHSC for ten years and currently has one physician and one dentist on staff funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
The Affordable Care Act provides $290 million for the National Health Service Corps in FY 2011. With this funding, over 10,500 clinicians will be caring for more than 11 million people by the end of 2011, more than tripling the size of the National Health Service Corps since 2008.
“One my top priorities in Congress has been to address workforce shortages,” said Sarbanes, “particularly those for primary care physicians.” He has also pushed for incentives for medical students entering fields with shortages, including scholarships and loan forgiveness programs that will help medical professionals manage the substantial educational debt that they accumulate during their training.