HRSA for Physicians
The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) is an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It is the primary federal agency for improving health care to people who are geographically isolated, economically or medically vulnerable.
The HRSA’s programs help those in need of high quality primary health care, people with HIV/AIDS, pregnant women, and mothers. HRSA also supports the training of health professionals, the distribution of providers to areas where they are needed most and improvements in health care delivery.
HRSA oversees organ, bone marrow and cord blood donation. It compensates individuals harmed by vaccination, and maintains databases that protect against health care malpractice, waste, fraud and abuse.
Precursor agencies to the HRSA have been in operation since 1943, working to improve the health of needy people. The HRSA was created in 1982, when the Health Resources Administration and the Health Services Administration were merged.
The HRSA Workforce
HRSA seeks to ensure that underserved communities have well-trained, diverse health care providers to deliver and facilitate needed care. HRSA programs support providers with direct patient care responsibilities, as well as public health and allied health professionals and paraprofessionals who support the health and well-being of the population.
From 2019 – 2022, HRSA has been and will be focusing efforts to equip and retain the health care workforce in underserved and rural communities to meet critical needs and achieve improved access to health care.
Training the Healthcare Workforce
The HRSA has several objectives and methods to equip these healthcare professionals. Steps include:
- Expanding the number and types of training and technical assistance opportunities educating students and providers.
- Ensuring HRSA-trained providers can address the social determinants of health and emerging health care needs.
- Increase cultural competency among health care workers.
Distributing the Healthcare Workforce
In tandem with training these healthcare professionals, the HRSA also focuses heavily on how best to distribute them around the country to address need. This process includes:
- Identifying and prioritizing areas of current and future health care workforce needs and workforce training requirements through data-informed analysis and modeling.
- Addressing shortages by aligning training, recruitment, distribution, and retention of the health workforce to serve in the areas where the need is greatest.
- Increasing the diversity of the workforce and number of individuals from under-represented groups participating in health professions.
- Informing strategic decision-making to educate policy makers, researchers, and the public about health care workforce trends, supply, demand, and policy issues.
Loan Repayment for Healthcare Workers
The HRSA is not only a major resource for patients, but also for its healthcare professionals. The HRSA offers loan repayment for medical education in three major ways, which are explored below.
Nurse Corps Loan Repayment Program (Nurse Corps LRP)
Through this program, the HRSA will pay up to 85% of unpaid nursing education debt. In exchange, you serve at least two years. You must serve in a Critical Shortage Facility (CSF) or an eligible school of nursing.
Who is eligible to apply?
You are eligible if you are:
- A registered nurse (RN)
- An advanced practice registered nurse (APRN)
- Nurse faculty (NF)
You must have received your nursing education from an accredited school of nursing. That school must be in a U.S. state or territory.
National Health Service Corps (NHSC) Loan Repayment Programs
Additionally, eligible candidates can apply to one of four NHSC loan repayment programs:
- NHSC Loan Repayment Program (NHSC LRP)
- NHSC Substance Use Disorder Workforce Loan Repayment Program (NHSC SUD Workforce LRP)
- NHSC Rural Community Loan Repayment Program (NHSC Rural Community LRP)
- NHSC Students to Service Loan Repayment Program (NHSC S2S LRP)
The NHSC also offers to states the State Loan Repayment Program (SLRP) as a cost-sharing grant.
Faculty Loan Repayment Program (FLRP)
The HRSA will also repay your loan if you pursue a career as a faculty member at a health professions school.
In return, you serve as a faculty member at an eligible health professions school for two years.
Which health professions are eligible?
You must have a degree or certificate in one of these:
- Allopathic Medicine
- Osteopathic Medicine
- Podiatric Medicine
- Veterinary Medicine
– Registered Nurse (RN)
– Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN)
- Public Health (graduate level only)
- Physician Assistant (PA)
- Behavioral and Mental Health (graduate level only):
– Clinical psychology
– Clinical social work
– Marriage and family therapy
– Professional counseling
- Allied Health Professions (baccalaureate or graduate level):
– Dental hygiene
– Medical laboratory technology
– Occupational therapy
– Physical therapy
– Radiology technology
– Registered dietitians
– Respiratory therapy
– Speech pathology