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HHS designates $60 million to address rural health workforce shortages

The federal Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced this week that it has designated $60 million to strengthen healthcare workforces in rural communities through a number of initiatives (Source: “HHS investing $60M to boost rural healthcare workforce,” Healthcare Dive, Aug. 9).

According to an HHS press release, About $46 million in funding through the American Rescue Plan will go to 31 recipients with the goal of expanding healthcare capacity in rural and tribal areas by creating job development, training and placement programs for dental hygienists, medical assistants, doulas and other community-based healthcare professionals.

Another $10 million will go to 13 organizations to create new medical residency programs in rural communities to boost the number of physicians training in those areas. And about $4 million will go to 18 recipients with the goal of improving health outcomes and quality for rural patients and veterans living in those communities.

About 14% of Americans live in rural communities, though those areas represent nearly 75% of primary care health professional shortage areas in the county, according to a February report from the Center for American Progress, a left-leaning think tank.