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Newsletter Article


Health Law Provides $290 Million for Loan Repayment

By CQ Staff

November 22, 2010 -- The new health care law will provide $290 million this year for the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) loan repayment program, under which primary care medical, dental, and mental health professionals can get up to $60,000 to help pay their student loans if they work for two years in a medically underserved area.

"As we continue to seek ways to impact both the primary care workforce shortage and the increasing debt burden on new providers, NHSC serves as a model for addressing both challenges simultaneously," Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a statement. "Increasing access to primary care physicians who can support the physical and mental well-being of individuals can help prevent disease and illness, and ensure everyone—regardless of where they live—has access to comprehensive, high-quality care." Sebelius announced this year's allocation at a community health center in Baltimore.

Under the health care law (PL 111-148, PL 111-152), the money awards are higher than in previous years, and the program will give medical professionals the option of working half-time to fulfill their service obligation. They also will get credit for some teaching hours.

"By the end of fiscal year 2011, we expect that over 10,800 clinicians will be caring for more than 11 million people, more than tripling the National Health Service Corps since 2008," said NHSC Director Rebecca Spitzgo. She said that by 2015 the corps will support more than 15,000 new primary care professionals.

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