Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (DN.Y.) is co-sponsoring a bill to help infectious disease clinicians and healthcare workers repay their student loans.
“We must help eliminate the financial barrier and make these jobs accessible to all”, Gillibrand said at a press conference last week.
The Strengthening Infectious Outbreak Workforce Preparedness Act would authorize $ 50 million for the student loan repayment program.
People who work with infectious diseases and biologic preparation – such as physicians, clinical pharmacists, physician assistants and advanced practice registered nurses – could receive up to $ 50,000 for each year of service.
People could repay up to $ 150,000 in loans using the program.
Gillibrand used the context of the COVID-19 pandemic to address the bill. “Our doctors and health professionals are naturally exhausted” she said, stating that one in five U.S. medical workers have quit their jobs since the start of the pandemic.
“This creates a vicious circle which puts a strain on the staff” especially infectious disease staff, she continued. “We need these workers and their expertise.
The bill is sponsored by Gillibrand and Democratic Senators Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, Jacky Rosen of Nevada and Ben Cardin of Maryland, as well as Republican Senators Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.
Gillibrand said the bill was approved by the American Medical Association and the American Hospital Association.