“The way HRSA anticipates funding is through current funding available,” Mary Wakefield, administrator for Health Resources and Services Administration, told reporters, adding that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act provided for about $11.5 billion in federal funding for community health centers from 2010 through 2015.
“Our national organization has embraced this fully and accepts this challenge,” Tom Van Coverden, president of the National Association of Community Health Centers, said on the call. Van Coverden added that veterans bring a number of skills—clinical, administrative and technical—that are well-suited to a variety of positions at these facilities.
HRSA's Wakefield also announced a second effort that is supposed to broaden opportunities for veterans to become physician assistants. For this initiative, HRSA will give priority grant funding to the nation's college and universities that train veterans to become physician assistants. HRSA will also identify programs that offer curricula for veterans that offer enhanced veteran recruiting, retention and mentoring services to expand the number of training programs that accommodate veterans. And starting the week of Veterans Day, HRSA will provide technical assistance to the more than 21 institutions that have active veteran programs so that those programs can share best practices with the 159 accredited physician assistant programs nationwide—extending beyond those that receive HRSA funding.