WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV), a member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP), announced her co-sponsorship of the Health Heroes 2020 Act, bicameral legislation that would bolster the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) and Nurse Corps programs to address the health workforce shortages and disparities that have been highlighted by the current coronavirus pandemic. Companion legislation has been introduced by Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) in the U.S. House of Representatives.

“We must take bold action to combat the unprecedented health crisis of the coronavirus pandemic, as well as to strengthen our medical workforce for this and future challenges,” said Senator Rosen. “I’m co-sponsoring the Health Heroes 2020 Act, which would increase the number of medical providers in Nevada and throughout the country, so that we can expand the number of dedicated men and women who are on the ground working to provide critical health care. I will continue working in Congress to protect the health of all Nevadans

  

BACKGROUND: Specifically, the Health Heroes 2020 Act would expand the NHSC and Nurse Corps programs by:

  • Providing a one-time, supplemental appropriation of $25 billion for scholarship and loan forgiveness awards through the NHSC, and $5 billion through the Nurse Corps program;
    • This includes a 40 percent set-aside for populations historically underrepresented in health care (racial/ethnic minorities and students from low-income urban/rural areas);
  • Increasing the annual mandatory NHSC funding level from $310 million to $1 billion to increase scholarship and loan forgiveness awards to meet the nation’s health needs;
  • Establishing a NHSC Reserve Corps demonstration option to allow health professionals to serve for two years in “reserve status” for each qualifying year of scholarship.  Would permit such health professionals to work in the private practice setting of their choice, but:
    • In the event of a health emergency/disaster would be called up to serve at the direction of HHS Secretary (alongside the Public Health Commissioned Corps or health departments);
    • Require a monthly commitment, similar to the National Guard, to conduct preparedness training or deliver care to an underserved community; 
  • Allowing currently practicing health care professionals—who did not participate in the NHSC program—to opt into this reserve status and obtain loan forgiveness;
  • Expanding emergency surge capacity by allowing NHSC members to serve in high-need areas during a public health emergency.

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