On Monday, the White House issued the following statement: "Today, Vice President Kamala Harris will announce a historic $1.5 billion investment to help grow and diversify the nation’s health care workforce, and bolster equitable health care in the communities that need it most during the COVID-19 pandemic and in the years to come. "
Harris announced the BidenAdministration would be investing $1.5 billion from the COVID-19 relief package in efforts to tackle the shortage of healthcare workers in high-risk and underserved communities.
The funding is allocated to the National Health Service Corps and Nurse Corps and the Substance Use Disorder Treatment and Recovery programs. These all offer scholarships and loan repayments for health care students and workers if they pledge to work in underserved and high-risk communities.
"Thanks to the American Rescue Plan, this funding will support over 22,700 providers—the largest field strength in history for these programs and a record number of skilled doctors, dentists, nurses, and behavioral health providers committed to working in underserved communities during a moment when we need them the most," The White House wrote, adding, "This additional funding will further support the expansion of the primary care physician and dental workforce in underserved communities through community-based primary care residency programs in family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, internal medicine-pediatrics, psychiatry, obstetrics and gynecology, general dentistry, pediatric dentistry, or geriatrics."
"Our administration's goal here is to address the urgent shortage of doctors, nurses and behavioral health providers in both urban and rural areas," she pressed.
Regarding the White House's COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force, Harris said, "The President and I asked members of our task force to advise us not just on COVID-19 disparities, but on how we get at the root of all the disparities in the health care system that we face. And earlier this month, in their final report, the task force laid out clear priorities for our administration and for our nation."
"COVID-19 did not invent health disparities. Just ask any health care professional, and she will tell you: Health disparities existed long before this virus reached our shores. Health disparities stem from broader systemic inequities," Harris also noted. "What COVID-19 has done is expose these disparities, and it has exasperated these disparities."