Loan Repayment Program launched by Oklahoma State Department of Health to Address Shortage of Clinicians

The Oklahoma State Department of Health and its Office of Primary Care have recently launched a loan repayment program aimed at healthcare professionals working in areas with shortages. This initiative is possible due to the funding they received from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The program, OK Health Corps, is set to offer up to $50,000 to clinicians specializing in primary care, mental health, and dental health on the condition that recipients commit to two years of service in community facilities certified under the National Health Services Corps.

The OK Health Corps loan repayment program aims to help address the shortage of healthcare providers in areas of significant need within the state of Oklahoma. The goal is to support the health workforce and ensure increased access to health care for people across the state. To be eligible for the program, applicants must ensure that the facility where they will be working is located in a designated health professional shortage area and must submit a site agreement. Psychiatrists may be awarded up to $50,000, while physician assistants, certified nurse midwives, registered nurses, pharmacists, and eligible mental health clinicians can receive up to $35,000. However, it’s important to note that the amounts awarded will not exceed outstanding qualified educational loan balances.

Providers specializing in mental health and substance use disorders will be given priority when selecting recipients for the program. However, depending on available resources, additional providers in different disciplines may also be considered. Recipients are required to sign a contract with the State Department of Health and commit to either full- or part-time service – with full-time service defined as 40 hours per week and part-time service as 20 hours per week with a minimum of 45 weeks per service year.

Jana Castleberry, Director of the Office of Primary Care at Oklahoma State Department of Health believes this program will help attract more healthcare professionals into underserved areas by providing financial incentives for them

By Editor

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