Reps. Stewart & Butterfield Lead Bi-Partisan Effort Urging for Support of the National Health Service Corps
Washington, D.C. – Rep. Chris Stewart (R-UT) and Rep. G. K. Butterfield (D-NC) led a bipartisan group of Members of Congress in sending a letter to the House Energy and Commerce Committee, urging the committee to support the National Health Service Corps (NHSC).
The NHSC program provides loan repayment and scholarship opportunities for primary care, mental health, and dental health professionals in exchange for service in federally-designated Health Professional Shortage Areas. The current funding for this program is set to expire September 30, 2017
“Many communities throughout Utah have limited access to care,” said Congressman Stewart. “The NHSC program brings more access to Utahns by drawing medical students and clinicians to these rural areas. Our communities rely on this vital health care program, and I am dedicated to making sure they continue to have access.”
“Seventy-five percent of the fourteen counties I represent in rural eastern North Carolina are in health professional shortage areas,” said Congressman Butterfield. “Despite the already limited access to local primary care physicians, funding for our best solution- the NHSC program- could end on September 30. The NHSC program is essential to ensuring better access to primary care, regardless of zip code, and I strongly urge my colleagues to support continued funding for this vital program.”
The full text of the letter is below. The PDF can be found here.
Dear Chairmen Walden and Burgess and Ranking Members Pallone and Green,
We are writing to express our support for the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) program. The current funding for this important program is set to expire September 30, 2017, and we urge you to continue funding for this vital health care program.
The NHSC program provides loan repayment and scholarship opportunities for primary care, mental health, and dental health professionals in exchange for service in federally-designated Health Professional Shortage Areas. Because it is hard to naturally entice medical professionals to these locations, the market demand for medical services well exceeds the supply of health care providers in these areas.
Since 1972, the NHSC has placed more than 50,000 health care professionals, with more than 10,000 placed in the last year alone. These primary care professionals – including physicians, nurse practitioners, dentists, mental and behavioral health professionals, physician assistants, certified nurse-midwives, and dental hygienists – deliver quality, culturally competent care to more than 11 million people in every state and territory.
The NHSC offers financial assistance to recruit and retain health care providers to meet the workforce needs of medically vulnerable communities through four key programs: The Loan Repayment Program, Scholarship Program, State Loan Repayment Program, and Students to Service Program.
Prior to FY2009, the NHSC was funded through the annual appropriations process. Today, the program is funded through FY2017 by a dedicated trust fund that was extended within the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015. With a strong history of results, and recognizing the key role access to primary care plays in controlling costs and improving health, we strongly support the extension of the NHSC trust fund. We appreciate the work of the Committee to date on the NHSC funding and look forward to working with you to ensure a sustainable future for this vital health care program.
Reps. Chris Stewart (R-UT), G.K. Butterfield (D-NC), Chellie Pingree (D-ME), Elijah E. Cummings (D-MD), Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO), David N. Cicilline (D-RI), Peter Welch (D-VT), Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO), Steve Cohen (D-TN), Frank Lucas (R-OK), Sanford Bishop (D-GA), William Clay (D-MO), John Garamendi (D-CA), Suzan DelBene (D-WA), Dwight Evans (D-PA), Al Lawson (D-FL), Mark Pocan (D-WI), Mark Takano (D-CA), Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH), Katherine Clark (D-MA), Yvette D. Clarke (D-NY), Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), Rick Larsen (D-WA), Peter A. DeFazio (D-OR), André Carson (R-IN), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Shelia Jackson Lee (D-TX), Betty McCollum (DFL-MN), Joe Courtney (D-CT), Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA), Tom O’Halleran (D-AZ), Bruce Westerman (R-AR), Ann McLane Kuster (D-NH), Lujan Grisham (D-NM), Mia Love (R-UT), Jimmy Panetta (D-CA), Mike Thompson (D-CA), Jamie Raskin (D-MD), Anna G. Eshoo (D-CA), Joseph P. Kennedy III (D-MA), Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), David Loebsack (D-IA), Peter King (R-NY), David Price (D-NC), Denny Heck (D-WA), Robin L. Kelly (D-IL).