federal agencies

With incentives for community health workers and new nurses, federal agencies plan to address the lack of healthcare providers. The United States Departments of Labor (DOL) and Health and Human Services (HHS) announced a combined $346 million in funding for education and opportunities around the country.

Community Health Workers

The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced $225.5 million for community health worker training and $40.7 million in public health scholarships.

“Patients depend on community and public health workers for care and medical information,” HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said in a news release. Becerra also stated that the Biden administration is “committed to building a robust health workforce to make communities healthy.”

Furthermore, the HRSA has awarded $225.5 million to 83 grantees, with each receiving up to $3 million. These funds will be allocated for the Community Health Worker Training Program, a multiyear track of training and apprenticeship for 13,000 community health workers who connect individuals to primary and other care in their areas. According to HHS, 29 grantees will share $40.7 million through the Public Health Scholarship Program. Additionally, this program will fund public health training, including epidemiologists.

An Influx of New Nurses

The anticipated physician deficit in primary care and other specialties has made national headlines. However, the situation for nurses is not much better. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts that health organizations will need to fill at least 275,000 nurse positions between 2020 and 2030. The Department of Labor predicts nursing will be the nation’s fastest-growing profession from 2016 to 2026, with a 9% growth in opportunities.

“Many healthcare professionals, nurses among them, have worked around the clock during the epidemic to care for people in need and save countless lives, often at the expense of their own health and well-being,” stated US Labor Secretary Marty Walsh.

Anticipation of Government Funding

The federal government set aside $80 million for the DOL Nursing Expansion Grant Program. This program trains additional nurses in acute care, ambulatory care, primary care, long-term care, community, and public health settings. The funds, provided by the American Competitiveness and Workforce Improvement Act of 1998, will also be used to train experienced nurses to serve as instructors for nursing students.

Moreover, the description of the program highlights that “both training tracks can help contribute to adequate staffing in healthcare, which is important not only for the safety of patients but also for the safety and long-term retention of nurses themselves.” This program aims to help tackle the lack of healthcare providers.

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MedicalEconomics. (2022, October 4). Feds announce $346m to address worker shortages in health care. Retrieved from https://www.medicaleconomics.com/view/feds-announce-346m-to-address-worker-shortages-in-health-care.