Senate Passes Medical Loan Repayment Legislation
Friday, March 14, 2014
This week the Michigan Senate unanimously passed a pair of bills that make changes to the Essential Health Provider program—known as the Michigan State Loan Repayment Program (MSLRP)—to help encourage health care professionals to practice in underserved areas of the state.
SB 648, sponsored by Senator John Moolenaar, extends debt repayment through the MSLRP to dentists who practice in underserved areas, removes the four-year limit on loan repayments, increases the maximum annual repayment benefit to $40,000, and establishes a lifetime loan repayment maximum of $200,000.
SB 649, introduced by Senator Jim Marleau, includes dental students in the low-income minority student grant program and requires an assessment of the lifetime cap on loan repayments. The bills now head to the House Appropriations Committee.
In related news, and as a reminder, the FY 2015 MSLRP application period is open through April 30, 2014. Starting with this application period, providers employed at practice sites using MSLRP-approved retention plans will be given preference in the selection process. The program is implementing this policy because it believes focusing state and federal loan repayment resources on practice sites with approved retention plans will increase the number of primary care providers who remain in shortage areas beyond their service obligations. Click here for more information, which includes instructions for ordering a Provider Retention Planning Toolkit.