Hello, and thank you all for joining us.
I am pleased to be here at Duke University Hospital to announce the Obama Administration's latest step forward to bring quality, affordable primary care to the communities where it's needed most.
Today, we're announcing up to $200 million of funding under the Affordable Care Act to help train the nursing workforce of the future.
These funds will go to train Advanced Practice Registered Nurses -- nurses who have the advanced training necessary to provide health care services ranging from front-line primary care, like helping patients manage their diabetes, to specialty care, like delivering anesthesia during surgical procedures.
Having more of these highly skilled nurses will increase access to essential health care services. But their education also comes with costs. And these expenses have made it hard for schools to educate new nurses.
With today's investment, we'll put more nurses on the ground in communities across the country, shortening waiting times for appointments in community health centers, decreasing delays in discharging patients from hospitals, and providing more time for patients and their providers to interact.
This will have a big impact -- especially in states like North Carolina which contains both the urban and rural communities that we know suffer the most from lack of access to care.
Nurses are also an important part of improving care. Under the Affordable Care Act, we're moving towards a health care system that focuses on increased access to primary care, improved care coordination and an emphasis on prevention and wellness--the way they practice care at leading health systems around the country. Nurses are a key part of that transformation.
That's why today's announcement is just the latest step this Administration has taken to build the nursing workforce our country needs.
Over the last four years, we've committed more than $1 billion to educate new nurses, improve their training and place them where they are needed most.
We're also investing $11 billion over five years in our nation's community health centers to allow them to build additions, add services and providers, stay open longer, and serve millions more patients. As part of this investment, and investments in the National Health Service Corps, thousands more nurses have been hired -- including nurse practitioners and nurse midwives.
Today's funds will be going to five of the leading nurse training institutions in the country. The hospitals joining Duke not only have prestigious reputations in training nurses, they also have deep connections to their communities.
And as a condition of this funding, each hospital will support nurse training in non-hospital settings like community health centers or rural health clinics. This will allow new nurses to practice in the heart of communities where they will learn firsthand about some of our nation's most persistent health challenges. And it will bring talented nursing students into five communities that have a real need for primary care and health care access.
This investment is a win-win-win for Durham and the four other cities receiving funds today. It's good for the community, good for the nursing students, and it's good for the health care system of the future.
Today's announcement is another important step towards making sure Americans can get the care they need.