Feds invest $149M to increase primary care workforce

In order to add to the country’s primary care workforce and train more healthcare professionals, the government plans to invest more than $149 million in 12 different healthcare workforce programs.

The Health Resources and Services Administration, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, announced yesterday the new awards, which aim to prepare the next generation of primary care providers to serve communities in need across the country. The 12 programs will help train more primary care physicians, physician assistants, advanced practice nurses and nurses.

“These awards will help increase access to quality healthcare for all Americans by educating and training culturally competent providers who are prepared to practice in high-need areas,” Jim Macrae, the agency’s acting administrator, said in the announcement. “By encouraging partnerships among academic institutions, clinicians, healthcare sites and public health entities, we can improve health outcomes in underserved communities.”

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The education and training grants will increase the number of health professionals at a time when there is a growing physician shortage, particularly among primary care doctors and in rural communities. A recent report from the Association of American Medical Colleges projected a continued shortage of both primary care and specialty physicians over the next decade. The association projects a nationwide shortage of between 61,700 and 94,700 physicians by 2025.

The new grants will provide $14.5 million to fund 33 grants to hospitals, medical schools, physician assistant training programs and others to enhance curriculum and expand training programs. Other funds will provide grants to advanced nursing programs, graduate psychology programs, nursing programs, nurse anesthetist training and primary care research.

Read the announcement