Health Resources and Services Administration
Fact Sheet: Health Resources and Services Administration (PDF - 478 KB)
HRSA improves access to health care services for people who are uninsured, isolated or medically vulnerable. The agency's $7 billion budget (FY 2008) provides direct health care to 23 million people.
- HRSA's health center program supports medical, oral and behavioral health services to uninsured and underinsured individuals through a nationwide network of community-based clinics and mobile medical vans. By bringing comprehensive primary and preventative health care services to inner-city and rural communities that otherwise would be without them, health centers improve the health of their communities and relieve pressure on overburdened hospital emergency rooms. The agency also recruits doctors, nurses, dentists and others to work in areas with too few health care professionals.
- HRSA funds life-sustaining medication and primary care to about half of the estimated number of people living with HIV/AIDS in the United States. The agency also furnishes funds and expertise that save and improve the lives of millions of mothers and children.
- HRSA oversees all organ, tissue and blood cell donations and is the federal agency primarily responsible for pediatric poison control. HRSA also maintains databases that track cases of health care malpractice and compensates individuals thought to be harmed by vaccinations.
- The agency monitors trends in the health care workforce and forecasts future demand. Scholarships and academic loan programs encourage greater minority participation in the health professions and seek to maintain an adequate supply of primary care professionals.
All HRSA staff work together on agencywide initiatives to improve the quality of direct health care that grantees deliver, promote “best practices” and more uniform standards, and eliminate historic health disparities in minority communities. Other agency initiatives seek to expand the availability of oral and mental health services in primary care settings and help grantees implement and use health information technology to boost patient outcomes and administrative efficiency.
Primary Health Care
HRSA funds almost 1,110 health center grantees that operate more than 7,000 clinics and mobile medical vans. Health centers deliver primary and preventive care to over 16 million low-income patients in every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and U.S. possessions in the Pacific.
The agency’s Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program provides primary care, support services and antiretroviral drugs for about 530,000 low-income people. The program also funds training, technical assistance and demonstration projects designed to slow the spread of the epidemic in high-risk populations. These services avert more costly in-patient care and improve the quality of life for those living with the virus.
Maternal and Child Health
HRSA administers a range of programs for women and infants in need and children with special health care requirements. The largest of the programs, the Maternal and Child Health Services Block Grant to States, supports local efforts to reduce infant mortality and childhood illness and control costs associated with poor pre- and neo-natal care.
Clinician Recruitment and Service
The agency strives to ensure a health care workforce that is diverse, well-trained and adequately distributed throughout the nation. In exchange for financial assistance through National Health Service Corps scholarships and student loan repayment programs, more than 28,000 clinicians have served in some of the most economically deprived and geographically isolated communities in America over the past 35 years.
Many regions of the country — and various health disciplines — face serious workforce shortages. HRSA safeguards the foundations of the U.S. health care system by targeting grants to academic institutions to support post-graduate faculty retention; administering scholarships to increase staff in critical specialties, such as nursing; and funding leadership development programs. These programs leverage the educations of about 10,000 clinicians annually.
HRSA oversees the nation’s organ and tissue donation and transplantation systems, and a drug discount program for certain safety-net health care providers. The agency also supports the nation’s poison control centers and vaccine injury compensation programs, which distribute awards to individuals and families thought to have been injured by certain vaccines.
To make health care more accessible for the 60 million residents of rural America, HRSA funds programs that integrate and streamline existing rural health care institutions and aid in the recruitment and retention of physicians in rural hospitals and clinics. HRSA’s telehealth program uses information technology to link isolated rural practitioners to medical institutions over great distances.