Rep. Stanley and Sen. Chang-Diaz Secure Funding in ARPA to Protect Community Health Center Workforce

December 16, 2021 – Boston, MA – After months of advocacy, Rep. Stanley and Sen. Chang-Diaz are pleased to announce that their legislation (House Bill 1316 and Senate Bill 744) to further fund the Health Care Work Force Transformation Program is included in the final version of the state’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). Last month, Rep. Stanley and Sen. Chang-Diaz, in a letter to the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing, urged favorable action on their legislation relative to the primary care workforce development and loan repayment grant program at community health centers.

“Sen. Chang-Diaz and I have advocated tirelessly on behalf of this bill which will ensure that the community health centers in our districts and across the state can attract the workforce they need to continue providing quality, comprehensive, coordinated care that is patient-centered, family-friendly, and community-focused,” said Rep. Stanley.

The bill filed by Rep. Stanley and Sen. Chang-Diaz prioritizes additional funding of the Health Care Work Force Transformation Fund with specific student loan repayment awards made available to community health centers. Community health centers are unique providers that recruit a young, diverse, and highly culturally competent workforce to provide high-quality care to thousands of patients all over the Commonwealth.

“Many community health centers struggle to recruit and retain providers from doctors to community health workers. Lower operating margins and days cash on hand leave them with a smaller pool of resources from which to draw to hire high-qualify providers and staff,” said Rep. Stanley.

Funding for the Health Care Work Force Transformation Program includes:

  • $88 Million Loan Repayment Investment for Primary Care & Behavioral Health (eligibility: Community Health Centers, Community Mental Health Center & Psychiatric Units at Acute Care Hospitals or In-Patient Psychiatric Hospitals). This includes increased loan repayment thresholds for 4-year commitment for the following positions:
  • Psychiatrist: up to $300,000 per individual
  • Psychologists and Primary Care Physicians professionals: up to $150,000
  • Master’s level professionals: up to $50,000
  • Bachelor’s degree level professionals: up to $30,000
  • $15 Million flexible Community Health Center Workforce Supports for recruitment, retention at health centers.
  • $11.6 Million for Community Health Center Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Program. This investment will support the 4-year continuation of the program, which is about to launch a 6-month pilot in January 2022 to alleviate psychiatric nursing shortages in underserved communities.