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Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Health Workforce Programs in Title VII of the Public Health Service Act

Bernice Reyes-Akinbileje
Analyst in Health Resources and Services

Title VII of the Public Health Service Act (PHSA) supports health professions education and training through grants to and contractual agreements with institutions, and direct assistance to individuals. Institutions may receive Title VII support for such activities as residency programs at medical and dental schools, recruitment and retention initiatives in community-based educational settings, and health workforce data collection and analysis within state health departments. Individuals typically receive direct assistance through scholarships, loans, loan repayments, or fellowships. Title VII authorizes several advisory groups to make recommendations to the Secretary of Health and Human Services and Congress on various health workforce programs and Title VII functions. The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), oversees programs authorized in Title VII.

The health care workforce—the backbone of the health care delivery system—includes physicians, nurses, dentists, therapists, and others who deliver health services to individuals in physicians’ offices, health centers, clinics, and other community-based health care settings. In 2010, Congress reauthorized Title VII health workforce programs and activities in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA, P.L. 111-148, as amended). The ACA also added several new authorities that aim to build and sustain the health care workforce alongside other provisions for health reform, including health insurance expansion.

The 113th Congress has held hearings and introduced legislation to address the adequacy of the health care workforce. Health policy experts anticipate that ACA provisions for health insurance expansion could lead to an increased demand for health service utilization, and they expect that this increased demand for services could prompt increased demand for health providers, including physicians and nurses. Other factors causing concern about the adequacy of the health workforce include uneven provider distribution, attrition and retirement, and demands of the aging population. Legislative interest or action may focus on the impact of Title VII programs on education and training in the health professions.

This report describes and summarizes Title VII programs. It describes federal support for institutions and individuals in efforts to expand and sustain the pipeline for health professions education and training. Appendix A summarizes ACA initiatives for health workforce provisions related to Title VII.
related to Title VII.


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