Aug. 31 is the deadline to apply for the state Physician Education Loan Repayment Program (PELRP). Physicians who agree to practice for four years in primary-care health professional shortage areas (HPSAs) can receive up to $160,000 to repay medical school loans.
The 2013 session of the legislature appropriated $33.8 million for 2014-15, an increase of more than 500 percent above the $5.7 million in the 2012-13 budget. The funds were so low for the current biennium that the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board had been unable to accept new applications since 2011.
The PELRP webpage features a fact sheet and application for enrollment. It also has the ranking criteria used to determine which applicants will be accepted into the program.
In addition, a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services website includes a search function that allows you to find out if your practice is in a designated HPSA by entering your street address.
Officials hope to sign 100 physicians for loan repayment by Aug. 31.
The state will expand PELRP even further in fiscal year 2014 to allow physicians who treat relatively high levels of Medicaid patients to qualify for loan repayment, even if they practice in areas not designated as HPSAs. This expansion is similar to the previous Frew loan repayment program. The implementation delay for this aspect of the program is due to the need for the board to adopt new program rules and enter into a memorandum of understanding with the Texas Health and Human Services Commission. Applications from physicians practicing in HPSAs will receive priority over Medicaid, non-HPSA applications.
Action, Aug. 1, 2013