The AHA today voiced support for the Rural America Health Corps Act (S.924), legislation that would establish a Rural America Health Corps modeled on the National Health Service Corps to encourage health care professionals to serve in rural areas.
The bill provides incentives for clinicians to practice in rural areas and authorizes a Rural Provider Loan Repayment Demonstration Program in which participants who agree to serve full-time for five years in a rural health professional shortage area would be eligible for $200,000 in loan repayments.
“Health care workforce needs are particularly acute in rural areas,” AHA said in a letter of support for the bill, sponsored by Sens. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., Dick Durbin, D-Ill., Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and Tina Smith, D-Minn. “Recruitment and retention of health care professionals is an ongoing challenge and expense for rural hospitals. … We thank you for your leadership on behalf of the nation’s health care workforce, and we look forward to working with you to enact this important legislation.”