Medicaid Starts Loan Repayment Program

State officials have launched a physician loan repayment program as part of their effort to enhance the Medicaid program. Applications are due by June 1. The Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) will select applicants by mid-July.

Physicians who meet certain levels of Medicaid participation would be eligible for up to $140,000 over four years to help offset their medical school debt. The program would be open to physicians who already see Medicaid patients or those participating in the program for the first time. HHSC hopes to enroll up to 300 physicians and dentists in the program each year, with a maximum of 1,200 participating by the end of the fourth year.

Meanwhile, TMA is backing legislation to enhance an existing loan repayment program designed to attract physicians to rural and underserved areas. TMA seeks about $19 million for the next two years to enhance a loan repayment program that it says has failed to keep up with medical education costs.

The current program provides $9,000 per year for up to five years - for a total of $45,000 - to help medical graduates repay their student debt. TMA's proposal would increase that amount to a maximum of $140,000 over four years.

See the April issue of Texas Medicine for more information about this and other efforts to improve the Medicaid program.


Action , March 2, 2009