The NHSC Loan Repayment Program (LRP) is one way the NHSC works with communities to recruit health care professionals committed to serving the needs of underserved populations. This competitive program makes contract awards to clinicians that agree to serve full time at approved sites in designated health professional shortage areas (HPSAs) of greatest need. In return for this service, NHSC LRP participants receive money to repay qualifying educational loans that are still owed. This program is administered by NHSC at the federal level. The Virginia Department of Health (VDH), Office of Minority Health and Public Health Policy staff act as a liaison between NHSC applicants and practice sites.
In FY 2005, the NHSC LRP will be open to fully trained health professionals in the following disciplines:
NHSC LRP participants must serve a minimum of 2 years in the full-time clinical practice at the site for which they were approved. Full-time clinical practice is defined as a minimum of 40 hours per week, with at least 32 hours in the ambulatory care setting. Obstetricians/gynecologists and certified nurse-midwives are required to engage in a minimum of 21 hours per week of outpatient clinical practice. The remaining hours of the 40- hour per week total include delivery and other clinical hospital-based duties. Time spent on call does not count toward the 40 hours per week.
An eligible NHSC LRP community site is a public, nonprofit, or private health facility that provides a continuum of services, including comprehensive primary health care and appropriate referrals or arrangements for specialty and inpatient care to individuals in a health professional shortage area (HPSA). NHSC community sites must agree to treat all patients regardless of the method or ability of the patient to pay for services (i.e., accept Medicare/Medicaid assignments and have provisions for a sliding-fee scale). In order to be considered an eligible NHSC community site for the NHSC LRP, the site must submit an NHSC Recruitment & Retention (R&R) Assistance Application to the NHSC and be approved by the Site Identification and Application Branch.
For the first 2 years of service, the NHSC LRP will pay up to $25,000 for each year of service, based on the participant's outstanding balance of qualifying educational loans. If the total amount of the participant's qualifying educational loans is less than $50,000, the NHSC LRP will pay one-half of the total qualifying educational loans annually. All loan repayments paid to the participant must be used by the participant to repay the approved qualifying educational loans during the contract period.