Nat'l Health Services Corps Spending More To Increase Primary Care Docs In Underserved Areas

The Washington Post reports on the Obama administration's efforts "to bring thousands of young primary care doctors to underserved areas … and keep them there. The administration recently invested more than $1 billion from the stimulus and the health-care law into the National Health Services Corps to beef up doctor recruitment. It's more money than the 40-year-old agency has ever had, said Rebecca Spitzgo, associate administrator for the Bureau of Clinician Recruitment and Service. Nearly 5,000 recent medical school graduates accepted federal grants to pay off tuition and school loans averaging $150,000 per student. The awards come with contracts that obligate the young doctors to remain in what are typically rural areas for three to five years. The corps hopes to recruit another 2,800 students next year. ... [But], several young doctors who were interviewed said they are struggling with whether to spend a career in rural settings. Experts said they expect retention to be a problem" (Fears, 8/9).

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