Stewart’s Bipartisan Bill Passes House
Washington, D.C. – Today, the House passes H.R. 3922 which included the text of Rep. Chris Stewart’s (R-Utah) bipartisan bill, the National Health Service Corps Strengthening Act of 2017. The bipartisan legislation aims to reauthorize the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) for five years.
The NHSC is a national program that provides loan repayment and scholarship awards to primary care, mental health, and dental health professionals in exchange for practicing in federally designated Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSA) – locations where it is difficult to naturally entice health care professionals to practice. Additionally, the NHSC matches funding for State-based loan repayment programs that assist health professionals in underserved areas. The NHSC has helped more than 50,000 health professionals meet the medical needs of underserved and vulnerable populations for over 40 years.
The current funding for this program expired on September 30, 2017.
The National Health Service Corps Strengthening Act of 2017 reauthorizes the National Health Services Corps program for an additional five years and increase its funding by $10 million each year. The bill will extend health care services to five million more Americans and enable 5,000 more health professionals to participate in the program.
“The NHSC program brings access to many Utahns who are living in rural communities and have limited access to care,” said Congressman Stewart. “I’m proud of the work the House has done. The Senate must now act on this meaningful legislation to ensure rural Americans have access to quality healthcare.”
The NHSC is widely recognized- both in Utah and across the country- as a success on many fronts. According to the National Health Service Corps Stakeholders and the Association of American Medical Colleges, the program:
- Improves access to health care for the growing numbers of rural and urban underserved Americans;
- Increases state investments in recruiting and retaining health professionals;
- Provides incentives for practitioners to enter primary care;
- Reduces the financial burden that the cost of health professions education places on new practitioners; and
- Helps ensure access to health professions education for students from all backgrounds.