White House invests $1.5B to help healthcare provider, dental shortages

The Biden administration is investing $1.5 billion from the COVID-19 aid package to address healthcare workforce shortages — including dentists — in underserved communities, according to a Nov. 22 White House news release.

The U.S. is projected to face a shortage of almost 60,000 primary care physicians, dentists and psychiatrists over the next 10 years and needs an estimated 158,000 new nurses to graduate annually for the rest of the decade to meet demand. A significant barrier to meeting these needs is the student debt associated with graduate health education, which can prevent students from underserved communities from even considering a healthcare career.

The funding, provided through the American Rescue Plan, will support more than 22,700 providers, including physicians, nurses and dentists. The funding will go to the National Health Service Corps, Nurse Corps, and Substance Use Disorder Treatment and Recovery programs, which address workforce shortages by providing scholarship and loan repayment funding for healthcare students if they agree to work in high-risk and underserved communities.

The Biden administration also plans to award $330 million in funding for the Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education program. The additional funding will further support the expansion of the dental workforce in underserved communities through local residency programs.

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