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    National health service corps ranks are swelling

    The number of clinicians participating in the National Health Service Corps (NHSC), the federal program designed to provide healthcare to underserved communities around the nation, is at a record high.

    Stimulus spending and increased funding through the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act have increased the numbers of doctors, nurses, and other providers in the program to 10,000, nearly three times its size in 2008. The organization serves about 10.5 million patients, according to government estimates. The program is run by the Health Resources and Services Administration.

    Since fiscal year 2009, the NHSC has awarded nearly $900 million in scholarships, loan repayments, and other financial incentives to healthcare professionals in exchange for a minimum 2-year commitment to provide care in underserved areas. More than 80% of participating clinicians remain in underserved areas after fulfilling their program commitments.