Community Health Care Association of New York State, Inc.
Advancing Primary Care
October 2015 – March 2017
The Affordable Care Act greatly increased the number of New Yorkers served by federally qualified health centers (FQHCs).
To provide care for the newly insured and to create a strong safety net for those who remained uninsured, FQHCs needed to increase their capacity to provide quality primary care. An NYSHealth-funded report, developed by the Community Health Care Association of New York State (CHCANYS) in 2013, was the first-ever New York State plan to identify ways for existing health centers to increase productivity and fill vacancies among clinical provider staff. One of the report’s key findings was that expanding established provider recruitment and retention programs to fill existing vacancies could produce 720,000 more visits for more than 155,000 patients. NYSHealth awarded CHCANYS a subsequent grant to take action on the report’s findings and address workforce shortages identified in the statewide plan by increasing FQHCs’ use of State and federal scholarship and loan repayment programs and improving their ability to recruit and retain providers.
State and federal scholarship and loan repayment programs exist to encourage primary care providers to make service commitments to and practice in low-income and federally designated Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs) in exchange for medical school loan forgiveness. In New York State, it is conservatively estimated that more than 4 million people live in HPSAs. Use of these programs has been low, though; prior to this grant, only 263 providers in New York State were participating. To bolster recruitment and retention at their sites, FQHCs can also apply to these loan repayment programs for open slots and hire providers to fill them. However, most FQHCs in the CHCANYS network were either unaware of or lacked the resources to take advantage of these programs.