by Anne Morris, MPH
Today, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced the launch of the new application cycle for the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) Loan Repayment Program, during a visit to Baltimore community health center Total Health Care. The Secretary announced that at least $290 million will be available for National Health Service Corps (NHSC) awards during FY2011. The total amount ultimately will include both the $290 million in FY2011 funding from the Affordable Care Act (ACA)’s NHSC Fund, and the discretionary base appropriations amount Congress provides for the NHSC program when it completes the FY2011 appropriations process HRSA estimates that by the end of FY2011, over 10,800 providers will be supported through the NHSC. Investments made through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, together with the ACA, are expected to triple the number of NHSC providers (when compared to 2008).
More information on the NHSC LRP application, as well as the application itself, may be accessed online.
Earlier this month, HRSA outlined eligibility criteria for sites seeking to receive assigning of NHSC personnel in the November 5th Federal Registrar. A listing of current health centers and other sites that will be given priority in the assignment of personnel may be accessed here. Among other criteria, HPSAs with scores of 10 and above will receive priority assignment of Corps personnel; however, HPSAs with scores below 10 are also eligible for placement of Corps personnel and will receive assignment of personnel by decreasing HPSA score. The number of new NHSC LRP placements allowed at any one site during FY2011 is outlined as follows:
- HPSA Score of 0-9: maximum of 12 physicians, 12 nurse practitioners/physician assistants/certified nurse midwives, 12 dentists, 12 dental hygienists, 12 psychiatrists, and 12 other mental health providers.
- HPSA Score of 10-13: maximum of 15 providers in each category.
- HPSA Score of 14-26: maximum of 18 providers in each category.
Entities interested in being added to the high-priority list must submit an application on or before June 30, 2011.
Primary medical care, dental, and mental health providers are all eligible to participate in the NHSC. Due to program amendments made in the ACA, providers may serve on a full-time or part-time basis, and the annual maximum loan repayment amount has increased. NHSC personnel will now receive up to $60,000 for 2 years of service (the minimum service obligation for full-time service) and up to $170,000 for 5 years of service. For 6 years or more years of service, providers will be able to pay off their total debt.
NACHC is very pleased to hear HRSA’s announcement of new loan repayment awards. As you recall, NACHC was a strong advocate for the $1.5 billion NHSC Fund that was passed as part of ACA and is now being used to fund these awards. NACHC will continue to work on the NHSC’s behalf and urges health centers that are not already listed as NHSC sites or do not have their personnel vacancies listed (irrespective of HPSA score), to update that information in order to have these LRP recipients placed at your health centers.