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401 Meeker St Delta CO 81416 970.874.4421

National Health Service Corps addresses shortage of providers

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Photo submitted National Health Service Corps recipients employed at River Valley Family Health Center include (left to right) Rachel Stranathan PA-C, CDE, Kari Long PA-C, Ana Calderon FNP, Liam Lunstrum DO, Jeannie Mueller, PA-C, RD, CMO and Shawna McElr

About one in five Americans (21 percent), or 37 million people, live in a community with a shortage of health professionals.

Since 1972, the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) has been on the frontlines in these communities, providing quality health care to patients who otherwise might not receive primary care services.

More than 8,000 NHSC primary care medical, dental, mental and behavioral health providers are treating and educating millions of Americans -- regardless of their ability to pay.

River Valley Family Health Center employs several current NHSC Loan recipients Rachel Stranathan PA-C, CDE, Shawna McElroy PA-C, and Ana Calderon FNP and a NHSC Scholar, Dr. Liam Lunstrum DO, as well as two alumina of the program: Jeannie Mueller PA-C, RD, CDE and Karie Long PA-C.

These providers, along with others at River Valley, are taking new patients. River Valley has three clinics: 5 Hillcrest Plaza Way in Montrose, 308 Main Street, Olathe and 107 W. 11th, Delta.

The work of NHSC providers is made possible, in part, because the NHSC provides scholarships and student loan repayment. For those interested in a career in primary care, these incentives ensure that debt from school loans is not an obstacle. The NHSC offers up to $60,000 to pay off qualifying educational loans in exchange for a two-year, full-time service commitment or a four - year, part-time commitment. Providers can receive up to $170,000 for a five-year commitment and have the opportunity to pay off all educational loans for longer service. In addition, providers earn a competitive salary and gain access to educational, networking, and training resources to support them in their work.

Since 1972, the NHSC has connected more than 37,000 primary health care practitioners to communities with limited access to primary care. And, the impact of Corps providers in the communities they serve is lasting. More than 75 percent of NHSC providers plan on staying at their NHSC-approved sites after their commitment to the Corps is complete.

For more information visit NHSC.hrsa.gov.

Jeannie Muller PA-C, is the chief medical officer for River Valley Family Health Center. For more information, call 970-323-6141 or visit www.rivervalleyfhc.com.

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