Tuesday, July 28th, Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Kathleen Sebelius announced the availability of $200 million in health professions funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), the stimulus package signed into law by the President on February 18. The American Nurses Association (ANA) fought to secure this funding which is part of $500 million allotted overall in ARRA to the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to address health professions workforce shortages.
The funds made available this week will support grants, loans, loan repayment, and scholarships to expand the training of health care professionals through Title VIII nursing workforce development programs and Title VII Health Professions. Title VIII programs targeted for additional funding include the Nursing Education Loan Repayment Program which receives $27 million and the Nurse Faculty Loan Repayment Program, which received $12.5 million. According to HRSA, the funds are “expected to train approximately 8,000 students and credentialed health professionals by the end of fiscal year 2010.”
“In order to meet our nation’s health care needs we must have a strong, well-educated health care workforce” commented ANA President Rebecca M. Patton, MSN, RN, CNOR. “This funding will have an immeasurable impact on nurses and the public we serve.”
The remaining $300 million in ARRA workforce funds is being used to expand HRSA's National Health Service Corps, which provides scholarships and loan repayment for primary care providers who serve in health professional shortage areas. In addition, HRSA received $2 billion through ARRA to expand health care services to low-income and uninsured individuals through its health center program.
HRSA is using a competitive process to award all funds. For more information on how HRSA has allocated the funds across programs, as well as application information, visit the HRSA Web site.
ANA applauds the nurses who contacted Congress earlier this year to fight for these vital stimulus dollars, and will continue to work with lawmakers and the Administration to ensure a well-educated, well-distributed, well-utilized nursing workforce.