Federal Funds To Alleviate Primary Care Shortage

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced Wednesday a $250 million grant to increase the number of primary care doctors, nurses and other health care providers, according to Kaiser Health News.

The Washington Post reports:

"The money ... includes $168 million to train 500 new primary-care physicians over the next five years, $30 million to encourage 600 nursing students to attend school full-time and complete their education, and $32 million to create 600 new physician assistants."

But some Democrats are annoyed about how the funds are being allocated, according to Congress Daily:

The announcement drew criticism from some key Democrats. "While lawmakers and interest groups acknowledged that addressing a shortage of primary care physicians was important, they also said they were disappointed with the agency's use of half of the $500 million appropriated to the prevention fund in 2010 for purposes they say were not the intent of the law." Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., was quoted as saying, "I don't like the idea that there should be a scramble for funds when we had a pretty clear idea that we were going to use them for different purposes." Jeff Levi, the executive director of the Trust for America's Health, "said HHS' use of half of this year's prevention funds would mean that prevention efforts would have to 'do more with less'" (McCarthy, 6/17).

This program aired on June 17, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.

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Rachel Zimmerman Reporter
Rachel Zimmerman previously reported on health and the intersection of health and business for WBUR. She is working on a memoir about rebuilding her family after her husband’s suicide. 



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