Imagine you need to schedule an appointment for a preventative screening, but the nearest doctor is hours away by car, or you can’t be seen for several months because there aren’t enough primary care providers in your area. Unfortunately, this is a reality for many Americans, but with the help of the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) the number of providers serving Americans who live in Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs), also called underserved areas, has increased significantly.
Underserved areas cover a large swath of America and include rural, tribal, and urban communities. Data from the Department of Health and Human Services suggests these areas have poor health outcomes, including higher mortality rates from chronic and acute causes have a higher percentage of older adults, and a significant shortage of healthcare providers. The COVID-19 pandemic has was further exacerbated the last factor. The NHSC addresses both the immediate and long-term needs of these high-need areas.
As the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) works to address the inequities in healthcare access and services, the NHSC has been a key tool in ensuring that everyone receives quality healthcare from qualified clinicians.