Iowa Health - Des Moines has been awarded a $1.9 million grant by the Health and Human Services (HHS) Affordable Care Act Primary Care Residency Expansion (PCRE) program to expand primary care internal medicine residency program at their hospitals.
The PCRE program's purpose is to increase the number of primary care physicians by expanding enrollment in accredited primary care residency programs, family medicine, general internal medicine and general pediatrics.
HHS has announced $320 million in grants under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to strengthen the healthcare workforce. Of those grants, $253 million will go to improve and expand the primary care workforce under the Prevention and Public Health Fund of the Affordable Care Act. Another $67 million in Health Profession Opportunity Grants will provide low-income individuals with education, training and supportive services that will help them prepare to enter and advance in careers in the healthcare sector.
"Chronic diseases, most of which are preventable, are one of the main reasons health care costs have soared over the past several decades," said Eric Crowell, President and CEO, Iowa Health - Des Moines. "Investing in our primary care workforce will strengthen the role that wellness and prevention play in our healthcare system."
At Iowa Health - Des Moines, the grant will help support an increase of two residents per year in the internal medicine residency program. There are currently eight residents in each of the three years of the program, and that number will increase to ten each year. The Iowa Health - Des Moines internal medicine residency has consistently graduated a high proportion of general internists who enter primary care practice.
Primary Care Residency Expansion (PCRE) - $167.3 million
The PCRE program funds 82 accredited primary care residency training programs to increase the number of residents trained in general pediatrics, general internal medicine, and family medicine. Grantees will use the 5-year grant to provide stipend support for new enrollees in 3-year primary care residency training programs. By 2015, the program will support the training of 889 new primary care residents over the number currently being trained and more than 500 of these residents will have completed their training.
"Growing our residency programs is good for our community and our state," said Dr. Douglas Dorner, Senior Vice President of Medical Education and Research at Iowa Health - Des Moines. "More than 50 percent of our graduation residents stay in Iowa to practice medicine and even more stay in the Upper Midwest - and that helps improve healthcare in the state."
Prevention and Public Health Fund Workforce Grants
The $253 million in Prevention and Public Health Fund grants are awarded under six health professions programs administered by HHS' Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). The programs are designed to build the primary care workforce and provide community-based prevention. States will receive funding to support comprehensive workforce planning and implementation strategies that best address local current and projected workforce shortages.
"These grants are the most comprehensive yet in addressing our nation's shortage of key health professionals," said Mary K. Wakefield, Ph.D., R.N., administrator of HRSA. "They will provide much-needed support for increasing primary care capacity by expanding training programs for primary care providers, increasing access to patient care clinics, strengthening state-level workforce planning and providing training for personal home healthcare aides. All are vital to our future healthcare workforce."