Provides for educational loan forgiveness for physicians who return to medical specialty shortage areas of origin; defines terms.
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the public health law, in relation to providing an educational loan forgiveness program to physicians who return to a physician shortage area of origin
PURPOSE: To provide an incentive for students to study medicine and return to underserved areas to practice.
SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS: Section one of the bill adds definitions of designated physician shortage areas and specialty areas.
Section two adds the physicians returning to shortage areas loan forgiveness program. To be eligible a participant must have lived in any shortage area for at least two years. The education loan forgiveness program award may be up to $15,000 per year for up to five years. If the recipient fails to comply with the provisions of the program the money awarded must be returned.
Section three establishes the effective date for the legislation.
JUSTIFICATION: There are serious health professional shortages in rural areas and some inner city areas in New York State. This bill is aimed at attracting students who already live in underserved areas to study medicine and then return to their shortage area. Studies have shown that these physicians are more likely to stay for a longer time in their original home than those who are recruited from elsewhere.
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: S.2879 of 2009: Referred to Health S.475 of 2007: Passed Senate in 2008 S.3422 of 2005: Referred to Health
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: There would be a small impact on tax revenues to the state with this program. The total amount would depend on how many physicians participate in the program.
EFFECTIVE DATE: The effective date shall take effect 180 days after it has been signed into law.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 2771 2011-2012 Regular Sessions IN SENATE February 1, 2011 ___________Introduced by Sen. BONACIC -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Health AN ACT to amend the public health law, in relation to providing an educational loan forgiveness program to physicians who return to a physician shortage area of origin THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Section 235 of the public health law is amended by adding two new subdivisions 5 and 6 to read as follows: 5. "DESIGNATED PHYSICIAN SHORTAGE AREAS", AS REFERENCED IN SECTION SIX HUNDRED FIVE OF THE EDUCATION LAW, ARE AREAS DETERMINED BY THE BOARD OF REGENTS, IN CONSULTATION WITH THE COMMISSIONER, TO BE AREAS IN SHORT SUPPLY OF CERTAIN PHYSICIAN SPECIALTIES. 6. "SPECIALTY" OR "SPECIALTY AREA" SHALL MEAN THE BRANCH OR BRANCHES OF SPECIAL COMPETENCE WITHIN A PHYSICIAN'S MEDICAL PRACTICE. S 2. The public health law is amended by adding a new section 236-b to read as follows: S 236-B. PHYSICIANS RETURNING TO SHORTAGE AREAS LOAN FORGIVENESS PROGRAM. 1. PHYSICIAN LOAN FORGIVENESS AWARDS SHALL BE ISSUED ANNUALLY TO PHYSICIANS WHO AGREE TO RETURN TO A SHORTAGE AREA OF ORIGIN IN NEW YORK STATE DESIGNATED BY THE BOARD OF REGENTS AS HAVING A SHORTAGE OF PHYSICIANS IN CERTAIN SPECIALTY AREAS. FOR PURPOSES OF THIS SECTION, A SHORTAGE AREA OF ORIGIN SHALL MEAN ANY DESIGNATED PHYSICIAN SHORTAGE AREA WHERE THE PHYSICIAN PARTICIPANT HAD PREVIOUSLY LIVED FOR AT LEAST TWO YEARS. SUCH PARTICIPATING PHYSICIANS SHALL RECEIVE AN EDUCATIONAL LOAN FORGIVENESS AWARD OF UP TO FIFTEEN THOUSAND DOLLARS PER YEAR FOR A MAXIMUM OF FIVE YEARS. THE COMMISSIONER SHALL PROMULGATE RULES AND REGU- LATIONS TO ADMINISTER SUCH LOAN FORGIVENESS PROGRAM. 2. THE PHYSICIAN APPLICANT MUST BE A RESIDENT OF NEW YORK STATE, LICENSED TO PRACTICE MEDICINE, AND CERTIFIED IN THE NEEDED SPECIALTY AREA OF MEDICINE. THE APPLICANT MUST HAVE COMPLETED A PROFESSIONAL RESI-EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD01892-01-1 S. 2771 2
DENCY PROGRAM WITHIN THE FIVE YEARS IMMEDIATELY PRECEDING THE PERIOD FOR WHICH THE FIRST AWARD WOULD BE GRANTED, OR BE WITHIN TWO YEARS OF COMPLETION OF AN ACCREDITED RESIDENCY PROGRAM IN A PRIMARY CARE SPECIAL- TY DESIGNATED IN SHORT SUPPLY BY THE BOARD OF REGENTS. THE APPLICANT MUST AGREE TO PRACTICE MEDICINE IN AN AREA OF ORIGIN IN NEW YORK STATE DESIGNATED AS HAVING A SHORTAGE OF PHYSICIANS IN CERTAIN SPECIALTY AREAS. 3. THE COMMISSIONER, IN CONSULTATION WITH THE COMMISSIONER OF EDUCA- TION, SHALL ESTABLISH CRITERIA FOR THE SELECTION OF PARTICIPANTS IN THE PROGRAM. AN APPLICANT MUST SATISFY AT LEAST ONE OF THE CRITERIA ESTAB- LISHED. A PRIORITY SHALL BE ACCORDED TO ANY APPLICANT WHO IS COMPLETING A YEAR OF THE SERVICE REQUIREMENT AND IS REAPPLYING FOR A NEW AWARD. THE CRITERIA SHALL INCLUDE, BUT NOT BE LIMITED TO, THE FOLLOWING: A. REAPPLICATION FOR A NEW AWARD BY A PERSON WHO IS COMPLETING THE SECOND YEAR OF A SERVICE REQUIREMENT; B. RECEIPT OF SPECIFIC TRAINING OR EXPERIENCE MATCHING A SPECIALTY MEDICAL NEED EXISTING IN A SHORTAGE AREA OF ORIGIN; AND C. AGREEMENT TO PRACTICE IN A SHORTAGE AREA OF ORIGIN DETERMINED BY THE BOARD OF REGENTS TO HAVE A SEVERE SHORTAGE OF SPECIALTY CARE PHYSI- CIAN SERVICES. 4. THE COMMISSIONER SHALL VERIFY THE PHYSICIAN'S ELIGIBILITY AND THE PHYSICIAN'S TOTAL MEDICAL EDUCATIONAL LOAN EXPENSES. 5. WITHIN SUCH TIME AS THE COMMISSIONER SHALL BY REGULATION PROVIDE, A PARTICIPATING PHYSICIAN SHALL HAVE AGREED TO PRACTICE MEDICINE IN A SPECIFIC SHORTAGE AREA OF ORIGIN DESIGNATED AS HAVING A SHORTAGE OF PHYSICIANS IN A SPECIALTY AREA FOR A PERIOD OF TWELVE MONTHS FOR EACH ANNUAL PAYMENT TO BE RECEIVED BY THE PARTICIPANT. IN NO CASE SHALL THE TOTAL SERVICE REQUIRED BE LESS THAN TWO YEARS NOR MORE THAN FIVE YEARS. THE COMMISSIONER SHALL DEVELOP AND SECURE FROM EACH PARTICIPANT, A WRIT- TEN AGREEMENT TO: A. PRACTICE SPECIALTY MEDICINE IN THE DESIGNATED SHORTAGE AREA OF ORIGIN; B. TO ACCEPT MEDICARE AND MEDICAID PAYMENTS; AND C. TO PROVIDE THIRTY-FIVE HOURS PER WEEK OF DIRECT PATIENT CARE IN THE DESIGNATED SHORTAGE AREA OF ORIGIN BEING SERVED. 6. IF A RECIPIENT FAILS TO COMPLY FULLY WITH SUCH CONDITIONS, THE COMMISSIONER SHALL BE ENTITLED TO RECEIVE FROM SUCH PARTICIPANT AN AMOUNT TO BE DETERMINED BY THE FORMULA: A = 2B (T-S) T IN WHICH "A" IS THE AMOUNT THE COMMISSIONER IS ENTITLED TO RECOVER; "B" IS THE SUM OF ALL PAYMENTS MADE TO THE RECIPIENT AND THE INTEREST ON SUCH AMOUNT WHICH WOULD BE PAYABLE IF AT THE TIMES SUCH AWARDS WERE PAID THEY WERE LOANS BEARING INTEREST AT THE MAXIMUM PREVAILING RATE; "T" IS THE TOTAL NUMBER OF MONTHS IN THE PARTICIPANT'S PERIOD OF OBLIGATED SERVICES; AND "S" IS THE NUMBER OF MONTHS OF SERVICE ACTUALLY RENDERED BY THE PARTICIPANT. ANY AMOUNT WHICH THE COMMISSIONER IS ENTITLED TO RECOVER UNDER THIS SUBDIVISION SHALL BE PAID WITHIN THE FIVE-YEAR PERIOD BEGINNING ON THE DATE THAT THE PARTICIPANT FAILED TO COMPLY WITH THIS PROGRAM CRITERIA. NOTHING IN THE WRITTEN AGREEMENT SHALL AFFECT THE TERMS OF EMPLOYMENT OF THE INDIVIDUAL WHO SHALL NEGOTIATE, SEPARATE AND APART FROM THE PROGRAM, HIS OR HER SALARY AND OTHER FORMS OF EMPLOYMENT WITH AN AGENCY, PRACTICE, INSTITUTION OR PROGRAM IN WHICH HE OR SHE SHALL BE EMPLOYED. ANY OBLIGATION TO COMPLY WITH SUCH PROVISIONS AS OUTLINED IN THIS SECTION SHALL BE CANCELLED UPON THE DEATH OF THE PARTICIPANT. THES. 2771 3
COMMISSIONER SHALL MAKE REGULATIONS TO PROVIDE FOR THE WAIVER OR SUSPEN- SION OF ANY FINANCIAL OBLIGATION WHICH WOULD INVOLVE EXTREME HARDSHIP. 7. A PARTICIPANT OF THE PROGRAM SHALL REPORT ANNUALLY TO THE NEW YORK STATE HIGHER EDUCATION SERVICES CORPORATION AND THE DEPARTMENT ON FORMS PRESCRIBED BY THE COMMISSIONER, AS TO THE PERFORMANCE OF THE REQUIRED SERVICES, COMMENCING WITH THE CALENDAR YEAR IN WHICH THE PARTICIPANT BEGINS TO PRACTICE MEDICINE IN A SHORTAGE AREA OF ORIGIN AND CONTINUING UNTIL THE RECIPIENT SHALL HAVE COMPLETED, OR IT IS DETERMINED THAT HE OR SHE SHALL NOT BE OBLIGATED TO COMPLETE, THE PROGRAM. THE COMMISSIONER SHALL HAVE THE DISCRETION TO WAIVE THE FILING OF A REPORT, EXCUSE A DELAY IN FILING OR A FAILURE TO FILE A REPORT FOR GOOD CAUSE SHOWN. 8. THE PROGRAM SHALL NOT PREVENT PARTICIPANTS FROM BEING ELIGIBLE TO APPLY FOR OTHER PROGRAMS OR AWARDS. S 3. This act shall take effect on the one hundred eightieth day after it shall have become a law; provided, however, that effective immediate- ly, the addition, amendment and/or repeal of any rule or regulation necessary for the implementation of this act on its effective date is authorized and directed to be made and completed on or before such effective date.