Heads up to family physicians interested in loan repayment programs offered by the federally sponsored National Health Service Corps(nhsc.hrsa.gov) (NHSC): The 2014 application cycle is now open and receiving applicant requests until March 20 at 7:30 p.m. EDT.
The NHSC offers loan repayment assistance to support qualified family physicians and other health care professionals who are willing to locate in communities across the country that are designated as health professional shortage areas (HPSAs)(www.hrsa.gov).
Shortage areas are rated according to need, and the amount of each award granted is based on whether an area is considered a tier one (communities with the most critical shortages) or tier two HPSA. As of Nov. 14, 2013, the Health Resources and Services Administration reported approximately 5,800 total designated primary care HPSAs.
Successful applicants who agree to spend two years of service in a tier one HPSA can receive as much as $50,000 in loan repayment award monies. Physicians who agree to practice for two years in a tier two HPSA can receive as much as $30,000.
Physicians can begin the application process immediately through the online loan repayment program application portal(programportal.hrsa.gov). Those who oversee the program expect that the application process(nhsc.hrsa.gov) will be competitive. The process can take a few weeks, and interested parties are advised to begin gathering the appropriate documentation as soon as possible.
To help answer questions about the program, a webcast has been scheduled(services.choruscall.com) for Jan. 29 from 8-9:30 p.m. EST. In addition, experts with knowledge about the program will be available to answer questions during conference calls on Feb. 5 and again on Feb. 12, from 8-9:30 p.m. EST. For both calls, the dial-in number is (877) 917-6902; enter passcode 5854645.
According to the NHSC, all loan repayment awards granted in fiscal year 2013 (i.e., 4,505 awards totaling $169.7 million) were made to health care professionals located in tier one areas.
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