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Report: More Rural Doctors are "In"

PHOTO: Wyoming saw nearly 100 more doctors and other health professionals on the job in rural areas because of the National health Service Corps. Photo credit: Deborah C. Smith
PHOTO: Wyoming saw nearly 100 more doctors and other health professionals on the job in rural areas because of the National health Service Corps. Photo credit: Deborah C. Smith
December 2, 2013

CASPER, Wyo. - While there is much debate about the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and insurance, the legislation is credited with getting more doctors and other health professionals into Wyoming. The National Health Service Corps received a big funding boost under the ACA, which meant more loan repayments for health care providers who agree to set up shop in underserved areas.

Martin Kramer, director of communications, Health Resources and Services Administration, said the funding sent close to 100 physicians, nurses, dentists and other professionals to Wyoming.

"That $1.5 billion has enabled us to increase the number of people in the corps," Kramer said. "Now, we have 8,900 clinicians serving all across the country."

Fifty percent of health care professionals receiving loan repayment assistance work in Community Health Centers. The numbers cover five years, and come from a new report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

While it is true that some health care providers move to more populated areas after they complete their service commitment, Kramer said most do not.

"What's really great is that two years after their service is completed, 85 percent of National health Service Corps clinicians continue to serve in underserved communities," he explained.

The report also found that about half of Corps scholars are minorities.

The full report, "Helping Primary Care Clinicians Practice in the Communities Where They are Needed Most," is available at http://nhsc.hrsa.gov.

Deborah Courson Smith/Deb Courson Smith, Public News Service - WY