Loan repayment program opens rolling enrollment
The Texas Primary Care Office of the Texas Department of State Health Services has announced a more-frequent application schedule for the state’s Physician Education Loan Repayment Program. The program assists qualified physicians with educational loan forgiveness of up to $160,000 over four years.
Previously, applications were accepted annually; the deadline to apply for the first cohort was June 15 and those accepted began their service period on July 1. In the first cycle, 162 physicians applied for the program and 120 were eligible and accepted. Because the program has funding for up to 225 physicians per year as authorized by Texas law, enrollment will stay open until funding for the year is depleted. Applications from primary care physicians will be accepted and processed quarterly, and applications from subspecialist physicians will be accepted and processed as they are received and completed.
The revisions were made by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and TPCO after the June 15 application deadline. Applications received, approved, and finalized between June 16 and Aug. 31 will have a service start date of Aug. 31, 2010. For applications received, approved, and finalized after Sept. 1, 2010, the service start date will be the last day of the state fiscal year quarter.
To be considered for the program, primary care and subspecialty physicians must be practicing in a designated Health Professional Shortage Area. Subspecialty physicians also must provide evidence that there is a need for their subspecialties.
To be eligible to apply for PELRP assistance, a physician must:
- Have completed residency and/or fellowship training,
- Be employed by, and seeing patients at the location referenced in the application that is currently open and operational,
- Be practicing in a designated Health Professional Shortage Area, and
- Have a full physician license with no restrictions from the Texas Medical Board.
To receive loan repayment assistance a physician must:
- Have eligible outstanding student loans, made from an accredited U.S. lending institution,
- Provide four consecutive years of direct patient care service in a HPSA in Texas,
- Be board eligible in years 1 - 3 and board certified, as recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) or Bureau of Osteopathic Specialists, as applicable, by year 4.
- Provide care to Medicaid enrollees and/or CHIP enrollees if the physician treats children,
- Not be fulfilling a service obligation to any other program that offers loan repayment or loan forgiveness, and
- Not agree to another service obligation for loan repayment or forgiveness during the four- year PELRP commitment.
DSHS and THECB are partners in administering the PELRP. DSHS is the point of contact for applications, practice opportunities, and program questions. THECB verifies all loan data and disburses the loan repayment funds on behalf of selected applicants.