1. What is the purpose of a Loan Repayment Program?
These programs assist qualified healthcare organizations in recruiting or retaining health professionals by funding repayment of educational loans incurred by the health professionals. In return, the health professional makes a commitment to work two years full time at an eligible healthcare organization located in a federally designated Health professional Shortage Area (HPSA) or other Medically Underserved Area.
2. Where are Health Professional Shortage Areas or HPSAs?
Massachusetts has HPSAs in both rural and urban areas. To determine if an area (county, group of census tracts or facility) is a currently designated HPSA, go to http://hpsafind.hrsa.gov/
Some loan repayment programs are tied to state specific shortage areas including the Massachusetts Loan Repayment Program (MLRP) for Health Professionals Component C Health Care Workforce Loan Repayment Program and the Massachusetts League of Community Health Center Program.
3. Are practice sites required to meet specific criteria?
Yes. Eligible sites must meet either federal (e.g. NHSC) or state program requirements about location and population served. Some of these requirements include that sites must be: public or non-profit private, located in a HPSA, participate in MassHealth, accept Medicare and serve all patients regardless of inability to pay.
Other requirements may apply, see program details at http://nhsc.hrsa.gov
4. How long is the commitment?
The health professional is required to sign a contract for a two-year period of full-time service or the equivalent of two years full-time if the program allows part-time service.
5. Who is eligible for loan repayment?
A range of health professionals/clinicians are eligible, including Primary Care Physicians , Dentists, Nurse Practitioners, Certified Nurse-Midwives, Primary Care Physician Assistants, Dental Hygienists, Psychologists, Licensed Clinical Social Workers, Psychiatric Nurse Specialists, Mental Health Counselors, Licensed Professional Counselors, and Marriage and Family Therapists.
Specific Eligibility information may be found at:
- Massachusetts Loan Repayment Program (MLRP) for Health Professionals at www.mass.gov/dph/primarycare
- National Health Service Corps (NHSC) at http://nhsc.hrsa.gov Click on "applications" to obtain eligibility and other info
- Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers at www.massleague.org
6. What happens if I receive loan repayment but then change my mind before the contract is up?
Failure to commence or complete service obligations will result in serious liability to repay both Federal and State funds that were provided for loan repayment.
7 . How are the loan payments made?
For the MLRP award installments are made electronically to the health professional's bank account. For NHSC payment information go to http://nhsc.hrsa.gov
8. When are the applications due?
9. Is a physician who currently receives loan repayment from the National Health Service Corps eligible to apply for the MLRP?
No. Applicants must have no current commitments to the National Health Service Corps or other state and federal loan programs at the time of application.
10. Where do I find an application?
11. Who do I contact for more information?
This information is provided by the Office of Primary Care within the Department of Public Health.