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For years, the Public Health Service has provided grant funds to support health care programs, or has provided such programs, for certain segments of the population, such as the Indians, Alaskan natives, and merchant seamen.
With the establishment of the National Health Service Corps, the Public Health Service of the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare is pioneering in an effort to provide health care services for the general population living in areas where there is a critical health manpower shortage.
The Corps was established as part of an overall health manpower strategy to deal with the problems that maldistribution of health care providers has created, because of geography and because of the uneven availability of medical specialists.
This maldistribution of health care providers is demonstrated by 1970 data, which show 69.1 physicians per 100,000 population in rural or nonmetropolitan counties, approximately half the provider coverage available in metropolitan counties.
MARTIN ED. National Health Service Corps. Arch Surg. 1975;110(2):147. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1975.01360080013001