Harrisburg, PA (STL.News) Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf announced today that the Pennsylvania Department of Health has released a request for applications for the PA Primary Care Loan Repayment Program.  This program provides funding to recruit and retain primary care providers working in areas where there are shortages of healthcare practitioners.

“The loan repayment is critical to recruit and retain providers in areas with the greatest need for health care services in our state,” Gov. Wolf said.  “I’m pleased to be able to make funding available for those professionals committed to serving where they are needed most.”

“Regularly seeing a health care provider is one of the most important steps a person can take to improve their health,” Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said.  “This funding helps us ensure that those living in underserved areas have access to primary medical, dental and behavioral health care services.  We want to make sure that all Pennsylvanians have the ability to regularly be treated at a location that is convenient to them.”

The department currently has a total of $625,000 in state and federal funding available for these new awards, and hope that as more funding becomes available, further assistance can be provided.

The state’s loan repayment program provides educational loan repayment to practitioners who provide primary medical, dental or behavioral health care in areas designated as Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs), or providers who serve a minimum of 30 percent low-income patients.

HPSAs are federally designated areas where shortages in health professionals exist.  For example, an area with a shortage of providers serving a specific population group, such as low-income, is identified as a HPSA.

Eligible primary care practitioners include physicians (primary care and psychiatrists), general dentists, physician assistants, certified registered nurse practitioners, certified nurse midwives, dental hygienists, psychologists, licensed clinical social workers, licensed professional counselors, and marriage and family therapists.

Loan repayment is provided for approved practitioners in exchange for two years of service at an approved primary care practice site.

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