The FY 2012 HRSA Budget request includes $9 billion, a net increase of $975 million above the FY 2010 program level. HRSA is the principal agency charged with improving access to healthcare in medically underserved areas and increasing the numbers in the healthcare workforce.
The budget request includes $1.3 billion including $315 million in mandatory funding to support a health workforce strategy that will improve the distribution of the primary care workforce, encourage inter-professional training, focus on elder care, and reduce disparities in the workforce.
There is the need to track and analyze health workforce-related data, so the budget request includes $20 million which is an increase of $17 million over FY 2010 to support the “National Center for Health Workforce Analysis”. This budget item would support the Center’s work to develop reliable methodologies to analyze the nations’ health workforce status and provide accurate data.
The budget request includes $163 million an increase of $16 million over FY 2010 to improve the diversity of the health workforce. This is key to reducing health disparities related to socioeconomic, geographic, and ethnicity factors.
HRSA has health centers budgeted for $3.3 billion to include $1.2 billion in mandatory funding provided through Affordable Care Act Community Health Center Fund. Through continued investments in new access points and medical capacity expansion, the Health Center program will support more than 1,100 grantees to provide comprehensive primary healthcare services to 24 million patients at over 8,000 delivery sites.
The FY 2012 budget request includes $124 million, a reduction of $61 million for targeted rural health programs. This includes $57 million, an increase of $1 million to implement collaborative models to improve healthcare access and quality for the 55 million Americans living in rural areas.
This total also includes $26 million to continue funding for all continuing Rural Hospital Flexibility Grants, $20 million for research, technical assistance, and policy development to improve rural health outcomes, $12 million to expand access to quality care through telecommunications, and $7 million for screening and caring for miners with occupational-related impairments.
HRSA is looking at developing new, innovative models for the delivery of healthcare services by providing team-based care to include medical homes and accountable care organizations. The budget includes some new cross-programmatic initiatives to support training and practice reforms to ensure that health professionals can work more effectively within inter-professional teams.