Primary Health Care Practitioner Loan Repayment Program
Excerpts from Department of Health Fact Sheet
The Primary Health Care Practitioner Loan Repayment Program is a program designed to create incentives for Primary Health Care Practitioners to practice in Rural and Urban Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSA’s). The program is jointly funded through the Pennsylvania General Assembly and the Public Health Service Act. The program will fund loan repayment for a selected number of primary health care practitioners based on the availability of funds from year to year.
WHO IS ELIGIBLE?
The Loan repayment program is intended for primary health care practitioners, including primary care physicians, CRNPs, certified nurse midwives, physician assistants and dentists. It is anticipated that up to half of the awards each year will be to physicians, and half to mid-level practitioners, depending upon the types of applications received.
To be eligible, a practitioner must be a U.S. Citizen, possess a degree from an accredited school of medicine, osteopathy, dentistry; or graduate from an accredited educational program for physician assistants, nurse practitioners, or nurse midwives. Practitioners must be eligible for certification/licensure in Pennsylvania. Physicians must have completed an approved residency in primary care. Physician Assistants must be certified to practice in Pennsylvania.
WHAT LOAN MAY BE PREPAID?
In general, government or commercial loans for actual costs paid for tuition, reasonable education expenses, and reasonable living expenses related to the most recent clinical degree are qualified for repayment. The practitioner must agree to serve a minimum of three years in a Health Professional Shortage Area. Practitioners who have unserved obligations from other Federal, State, or Local loan repayment programs, or who are in default of any loan obligations are not eligible to apply. Loans are repaid directly to the lending institution up to a maximum total repayment of $64,000 for physicians and dentists and $40,000 for mid-level practitioners who complete four years in the program. Loan repayment is based on length of time in practice in the shortage area, as follows: 1st year of service 15% of loan balance; 2nd year, 20%; 3rd year, 30%; and 4th year, 35%.
The recipient must maintain full-time primary care practice in a HPSA. Sites may be non-profit, or public entities or private for-profit entities which are providing primary care in a HPSA. The site and the practitioner must agree to charge usual and customary fees, except that if a person is unable to pay such charges, the person shall be charged at a reduced fee. The site and the practitioner must agree that they will not discriminate on the basis of a patient’s ability to pay or source of payment, including Medicare or Medicaid. The practitioner or the practitioner’s employer must accept assignment and will enter into provider agreements with Medicare and Medicaid.