Biden administration to award $100 million to expand the nursing workforce
By Daniel Payne | 08/10/2023 03:33 PM EDT
The Department of Health and Human Services said Thursday it would award more than $100 million to grow the nursing workforce, the latest government action to address a nationwide shortage of health professionals.
The funding will go to programs to train registered nurses, nurse practitioners, certified nurse midwives and nurse faculty — with some of the money going toward efforts to offer more advanced certifications to those already working as nurses.
“We’re doing this because we got marching orders,” HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said. “We got marching orders directly from President Biden.”
Why it matters: The U.S. faces a large and growing shortage of health care workers, particularly those who provide primary care.
The administration and Congress continue to work on policies aimed at growing the workforce of nurses, doctors, therapists and other health professionals. Some lawmakers have said the issue is among their top health care priorities for the year.
The details: The awards will go to three main priorities, Health Resources and Services Administration head Carole Johnson said.
HHS will grant:
— Nearly $65 million to train nurses to deliver primary care through advanced nursing education and nurse practitioner residency and fellowship programs
— About $26 million to recruit and support more nursing faculty to train a larger workforce
— Almost $9 million to support licensed practical nurses’ training to become registered nurses
“Nurses are the backbone of the health care system,” Johnson said. “We are training nurses to become primary care providers to address maternal health issues, to address mental health care and substance use disorder issues, where we know there are significant gaps and needs for coverage.”
What’s next? The newly announced program is part of a larger HHS workforce initiative, which spans the agency, from the CDC to SAMHSA, according to Angela Ramirez, HHS deputy chief of staff.
Those efforts aim to grow the pipeline of aspiring health care workers and improve retention of health workers of all kinds.