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06 Jan 2011

Giving Back To The Community

California, Community, Physician Licensing, State Medical Board No Comments

Medical Board of California: $105,000 in Awards for Recently-Licensed Physicians

Almost 10 years ago, the Medical Board of California envisioned a loan repayment program to encourage recently licensed physicians to practice in underserved locations in California by authorizing a plan for repayment of their student loans (up to $105,000) in exchange for a minimum three-year service.  The program was created in 2002 via legislation co-sponsored by the Board, the California Primary Care Association, the Latino Coalition for a Healthy California, and the California Medical Association, to further the Board’s charge of consumer protection and to undertake innovative and proactive steps to tackle the significant issue of increased access to healthcare for the underserved.
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While the immediate goal of the loan repayment program was to provide improved access to healthcare in underserved communities during each physician’s three-year obligation, the Board also hoped that this three-year period would allow salaried physicians to grow roots in each respective community, remaining where they are working, even after the program’s last payment has been made.
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In 2006, administration of the Steven M. Thompson Physician Corps Loan Repayment Program transitioned from the Board to the Health Professions Education Foundation (HPEF), a 501(c)(3) public benefit corporation, which receives administrative support from the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development. Since 1990, HPEF has administered statewide scholarship and loan repayment programs for a wide range of health-professions students and recent graduates and is funded through grants and contributions from public and private agencies, hospitals, health plans, foundations, corporations, and individuals, as well as through a surcharge on the renewal fees of various health professionals. While the Board regrets that it had to relinquish administration of the program, the experience of HPEF staff in raising funds and administering similar programs will best allow the Physician Corps Loan Repayment Program to flourish.
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During the first eight years of the program, awards totaling more than $12.3 million have been given by the Board and HPEF to almost 150 young physicians; however, as you can imagine, raising adequate funding for the program has been difficult.  In 2008, the Legislature passed, and the Governor signed, a bill that requires all physicians and surgeons, regardless of their license category, to pay a $25 mandatory fee to fund the physician loan repayment program.  This action was taken in keeping with HPEF’s tradition of allowing well-established professionals to offer support to the younger generation of students who are entering the same profession.  The Board is very proud to have been instrumental in creating this program and hopes that you share our support of the program by providing continuous funding for a program that helps offset some of the extraordinary loans incurred by recently-licensed physicians.
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Since our licensees now play an integral role in supporting the loan repayment program, we hope that you will forward this information to physicians you think would be worthy contenders for an award.  The application can be accessed via this link:
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http://www.oshpd.ca.gov/HPEF/STLRP.html
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The application deadline is March 24, 2011.
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If you have questions about the Physician Corps Loan Repayment Program, or any of the other scholarships and loan repayments provided by HPEF to aspiring and practicing health professionals, please contact HPEF directly.
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http://www.oshpd.ca.gov/HPEF/
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* This post is taken directly from an email from MBC News Subscription Service on behalf of the Medical Board of California. We do not claim to have created original content in this post, but rather to relay exact information copied from this email pertinent to our clients.
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