Nurse's Station

The Affordable Care Act and Nurses – What Has Changed?

  • Section 105201. This provision increases the loan repayment amount for NHSC members, allows half-time service, and allows teaching activities to count toward 20% of one’s service commitment to the Corps.
  • Section 5312. This statute authorized $338 million to be spent in 2010 on nursing workforce development programs. This includes advanced nursing education grants, workforce diversity grants, and grants for nurse practice, quality, and retention. From fiscal years 2011 onward, the statute has specified “such sums as may be necessary.”
  • Section 5308 clarifies the scope of ANE grant programs, ensuring that students in accredited midwifery education programs also have access to these grants. Priority is given to recipients who will contribute to increased diversity.
  • Section 5309 adds two new grants for nurse retention. They authorize the HHS to award grants to accredited nursing schools or health facilities that demonstrate good collaboration and communication among healthcare professionals.
  • Section 5310 expands the Nurse Education Loan Repayment and Scholarship Programs to provide loan repayment for students who serve as faculty at an accredited institution for at least two years. The NELRP is a selective program from the US Government that aims to combat the ongoing nursing shortage by offering loan repayment of up to 85% of outstanding loans for RNs and APs.
  • Section 5311 increased NLFP amounts from $30,000 to $35,000 in 2010 and 2011. It also declares that after 2011, the yearly and aggregate amount of the loans will be adjusted to provide for increased costs for college attendance. It also permits the HHS to enter into an agreement with nurses who have completed or are currently enrolled in, a master’s or doctorate program for nursing. This agreement provides up to $10,000 a year for master’s degree recipients, and up to $20,000 a year for DNP and Ph.D. recipients, so long as those who earn a doctorate spend at least four out of six years as a full-time faculty member for an accredited institution.
  • Section 10501 allows faculty at public health schools with physician assistant programs to obtain loan repayment under the workforce diversity program.
  • Section 3505 introduces a Comprehensive Geriatric Education Grant, which provides training and continuing education to nurses who care for geriatric patients, establishing traineeships for individuals pursuing advanced education nursing degrees in geriatric care, long-term nursing, geropsychiatric nursing, or any other area that involves the older population.
  • Section 330 establishes the Federally Qualified Health Centers program (FQHC), supporting primary care in underserved urban and rural communities. An FQHC has services through a nurse practitioner, certified nursing midwife, and/or visiting nurse.
  • Section 3502 authorizes the HHS to establish grants for states or state-designated entities to create community-based interdisciplinary healthcare teams to support nearby primary care practices. These teams may include nurses, pharmacists, dieticians, social workers, and other medical specialists. These teams support patient-centered medical homes, which provide coordinated, whole person oriented evidence-based medical care.
  • Section 5208 establishes a program to support nurse-managed health centers, operated by advanced practice nurses who provide comprehensive primary care and wellness services in underserved areas.
  • Section 3114 increases reimbursement for certified nurse midwives from 35% to 100% of a physician’s reimbursement for the same service.
  • Section 5507 creates a grant program for educational and training opportunities for low-income individuals who are pursuing healthcare careers that pay well, and that are expected to be in especially high demand.


The ACA and Nursing

Regardless of the ACA’s global success as a whole, it has created several programs, such as federal grants and loan repayment programs, that are of great benefit for nurses and nursing students. These programs are part of the ACA’s overall goal of improving people’s access to affordable healthcare and part of this goal is to increase the supply of skilled nursing professionals.

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