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IHS Announces Expanded National Health Service Corps Opportunities
The Indian Health Service (IHS) and the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) recently announced that 27 additional IHS and tribal hospitals are eligible for selection by health care providers in both their outpatient and inpatient settings under the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) program. This announcement means recruitment opportunities at NHSC-approved outpatient care sites including health care facilities that provide ambulatory and primary health services in urban and rural communities with limited access to health care.
"This announcement puts IHS on par with critical access hospitals for the first time and expands the resources of the NHSC to tribally-operated hospitals," said IHS Principal Deputy Director Mary L. Smith. "Recruiting and retaining qualified health care providers at rural hospitals, including IHS facilities, is a major challenge. Programs such as the National Health Service Corps help us attract talented doctors, dentists, behavioral health providers, nurse practitioners and other health professionals to serve our patients."
This expands the current list of 12 IHS and tribal hospitals that participate as eligible inpatient and outpatient sites for NHSC member clinicians through the Critical Access Hospital designation. The participating hospitals can utilize this expansion to provide enhanced staffing throughout their hospital service delivery system. Strengthening and growing the primary care workforce at IHS and tribal facilities is a priority and this expansion will allow qualified health care providers to serve at additional hospitals and assist in recruiting and retaining these providers beyond their two-year commitment.
The NHSC helps bring health care to those who need it most by awarding scholarships and loan repayment to primary care clinicians who commit to serving for at least two years at an approved site located in a Health Professional Shortage Area. Health Professional Shortage Areas are designated by HRSA as having shortages of primary care, dental care or mental health providers and may be geographic (a county or service area), population (e.g., low income or Medicaid eligible) or facilities (e.g., federally qualified health centers, or state or federal prisons).
There are more than 10,400 NHSC professionals throughout the U.S., some of whom commit to fulfilling their service at IHS sites such as the Northern Navajo Medical Center in Shiprock, New Mexico. The site serves as the only medical center in its area and having the NHSC-eligible designation has allowed it to recruit and retain providers who may not have considered rural locations previously. With the expansion of the site's eligibility extended to its inpatient setting, opportunities to increase the number of NHSC member clinicians will continue to bring quality health care to this underserved area. Current NHSC-site vacancies are also listed on the NHSC site .List of 27 IHS and Tribal Hospitals that will be added:
- Acoma-Canoncito-Laguna Hospital
- Blackfeet Community Hospital
- Chinle Comprehensive Health Care Facility
- Claremore Indian Hospital
- Crownpoint Health Care Facility
- Eagle Butte Indian Hospital
- Fort Yates PHS Indian Hospital
- Gallup Indian Medical Center
- Lawton Indian Hospital
- Mescalero Indian Hospital
- Northern Navajo Medical Center
- Omaha-Winnebago PHS Indian Hospital
- Phoenix Indian Medical Center
- Pine Ridge Indian Hospital
- Quentin N. Burdick Memorial Hospital
- Redlake Hospital
- Rosebud Indian Hospital
- Santa Fe Hospital
- Sioux San PHS Indian Hospital
- Sells Indian Hospital
- Whiteriver Indian Hospital
- Zuni IHS Hospital
- Alaska Native Medical Center
- Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital
- San Carlos Apache Healthcare Corporation
- Tsehootsooi Medical Center
- Tuba City Regional Health Care
IHS Hospitals will become eligible sites for new NHSC awardees when the 2017 NHSC Loan Repayment Application and Program Guidance is released in early 2017. Information on eligibility and application deadlines is available at https://www.hrsa.gov/loanscholarships/hrsaapplicationbulletin.pdf [PDF]
The IHS, an agency in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, provides a comprehensive health service delivery system for approximately 2.2 million American Indians and Alaska Natives. For more information, visit https://www.ihs.gov. Follow IHS on Facebook .