Courier Staff Writer
Health care providers in Ottumwa and surrounding cities were thanked Friday for their service.
River Hills Community Health Center hosted the second Corps Community Day Friday afternoon, a chance to recognize local healthcare professionals during the 14th annual National Primary Care Week.
Clark Conover, regional supervisor for the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Division of Regional Operations, thanked nine medical, dental and behavioral health primary care providers in southeast Iowa for their hard work.
Health centers like River Hills, Conover said, help provide care for the uninsured and underserved of the area.
“I just received notice of my acceptance to the National Health Service Corps,” said Patricia Blackledge, advanced registered nurse practitioner in Centerville.
This acceptance means her $60,000 in student loans for her master’s degree in nursing will be paid off within 90 days, a huge benefit and attraction of the program.
“It’s hard to get health care providers to southern Iowa, to rural Iowa,” Blackledge said. “This is a great way to get people to the area and to retain them.”
NHSC is a federal program that improves access to health care for persons living in communities with a shortage of primary care providers.