Minnesota State Loan Repayment Program

Loan Repayment for Primary Care Providers Practicing in Rural and Urban Health Professional Shortage Areas in Minnesota

Current participants:
Forms that must be completed annually are available on the Participant Forms page.


The 2014 application cycle is expected to open in May 2014.

Program guidelines (PDF: 100KB/6 pages).

2013 Minnesota State Repayment Program Site List (PDF: 87KB/5 pages).

Application forms for the 2013 application cycle were due August 19, 2013.

Program Purpose

The purpose of Minnesota's State Loan Repayment Program (MN SLRP) is to improve access to primary care by assisting underserved communities with recruitment and retention of primary care providers.

Program Administration and Funding

This program is administered by the Office of Rural Health and Primary Care, Minnesota Department of Health.  It is funded by the State of Minnesota and the National Health Service Corps.  Program eligibility requirements and benefits are established by federal law authorizing the State Loan Repayment Program (Section 388I of the Public Health Service Act, as amended by Public Law 101-597 and Public Law 111-148).

Program Benefits

The MN SLRP provides funds for repayment of qualifying educational loans of up to $20,000 annually for full-time primary care providers and up to $10,000 annually for half-time primary care providers. In return for the loan repayment award, participants must complete a two-year service obligation in nonprofit private or public sites located in federally designated Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs). Qualifying educational loans are government and commercial loans for actual costs paid for tuition, reasonable education expenses, and reasonable living expenses relating to the graduate or undergraduate education of a primary care provider. Loan repayment awards under this program have been exempted as taxable income under federal and Minnesota state law.

Awards are paid by the State of Minnesota directly to the participant, who must then apply the award immediately to the eligible outstanding debt.

Candidate Applications and Selections

For fiscal year 2013-2014, approximately five (5) to ten (10) loan repayment awards will be available contingent upon continued funding from the National Health Service Corps and the State of Minnesota. The application deadline is August 19, 2013. Applications must be faxed or postmarked by this date. Candidate applications must be submitted in conjunction with a Site application/update for full consideration. Awards will be made in October, after federal and state funding has been secured. If all awards are not made at that time, applications will be accepted until funds are exhausted.

Service Requirement

In order to receive loan repayment, a provider must agree to practice a minimum of two years at a program-approved site located within a federally designated Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA). During the second year of service obligation, participants may request extensions for a third and fourth year of loan repayment. Extensions will be granted depending on the availability of state and federal funds and program priorities. Severe financial penalties apply to participants who fail to complete their service obligation as specified in their contractual agreement.

Fulltime clinical practice in the Minnesota SLRP is defined as a minimum of 40 hours per week, for a minimum of 45 weeks each service year. The 40 hours per week may be compressed into no less than four (4) days per week, with no more than 12 hours of work to be performed in any 24‐hour period. Time spent “on call” will not be counted towards the service requirement. See full Program Guidelines for more detail on the definition of full-time practice.

Part‐time clinical practice in the Minnesota SLRP is defined as a minimum of 20 hours per week, for a minimum of 45 weeks each service year. The 20 hours per week may be compressed into no less than two (2) days per week, with no more than 12 hours of work to be performed in any 24‐hour period. Full‐time work done by a half‐time participant will not change the participant’s half‐time status (and will not entitle the clinician to full‐time service credit). Time spent “on call” will not be counted towards the service requirement. See full Program Guidelines for more detail on the definition of practice-time practice.

Provider Eligibility

Providers:

  • Must be U.S. citizen (either U.S. born or naturalized) or U.S. national.
  • Must have a permanent and unrestricted Minnesota state license to practice independently and unsupervised.
  • Must be practicing or ready to begin practicing at a program-approved site once the loan repayment contract has been signed.
  • Must participate or be eligible to participate as a provider in Medicare, Medicaid and MinnesotaCare, as appropriate.
  • Must not have any outstanding obligation for health professional service or other service to the Federal government (e.g., an active military obligation, NHSC Loan Repayment Program obligation, NHSC Scholarship Program obligation or Nursing Education Loan Repayment Program obligation) or to a State or other entity (e.g., a recruitment bonus that obligates you to remain employed at a certain site), unless the obligation would be completed prior to receipt of the MN SLRP award.  See below for an exception for members of a Reserve component of the Armed Forces or National Guard
  • Must not be in breach of a health professional service obligation to the Federal, State or local government.
  • Must not have any judgment liens arising from Federal debt.
  • Not be excluded, debarred, suspended, or disqualified by a Federal agency.

Only one candidate application per site will be accepted. Currently practicing clinicians are eligible, but no credit can be given for service prior to signing a contract with the state. No credit may be given for any practice while the provider is in a professional school or graduate training program.

Military Reserve Exception: Individuals in a Reserve component of the Armed Forces, including the National Guard, are eligible to participate in the MN SLRP. Reservists should understand the following:

  • Military training or service performed by reservists will not satisfy the MN SLRP service commitment. If a participant’s military training and/or service, in combination with the participant’s other absences from the service site, will exceed approximately seven (7) weeks per service year, the participant should request a suspension of his/her MN SLRP service obligation. The MN SLRP service obligation end date will be extended to compensate for the break in MN SLRP service.
  • If the reservist is deployed, following deployment he/she is expected to return to the MN SLRP service site where he/she was serving prior to deployment. If unable to do so, the reservist must complete his/her service obligation at another MN SLRP-approved site.
Eligibility includes the following health professionals with a permanent and unrestricted license to practice independently and unsupervised in the state of Minnesota:
MDs/DOs  Doctors of Allopathic or Osteopathic Medicine
DDs General Practice Dentists (D.D.S. or D.M.D.)
NPs Primary Care Certified Nurse Practitioners
CNMs Certified Nurse-Midwives
PAs Primary Care Physician Assistants
DHs Registered Clinical Dental Hygienists
CPs Clinical or Counseling Psychologists (Ph.D. or equivalent)
LICSWs Licensed Independent Clinical Social Workers (master’s or doctoral degree in social work)
PNSs Psychiatric Nurse Specialists
LPCs Licensed Professional Counselors (master’s or doctoral degree with a major study in counseling) (licensed to practice independently and unsupervised)
MFTs Marriage and Family Therapists (master’s or doctoral degree with a major study in marriage and family therapy)


The approvable primary care specialties for physicians include family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, obstetrics/gynecology, geriatrics and psychiatry. General practice physicians (physicians who have not completed residency training programs) are not eligible for funding under the MN SLRP.

The approvable primary care specialties for nurse practitioners and physician assistants include adult, family, pediatrics, psychiatry/mental health, geriatrics and women’s health.

Application and Site Eligibility

Sites do not need to apply unless a clinician is submitting a Candidate Application. If a site is already listed on the 2013 Minnesota State Loan Repayment Program Program Site list (to be posted), it must submit a Site Update Form in conjunction with the Candidate Application. All other sites must submit a NEW Site Application in conjunction with the Candidate Application.

To be eligible to participate in the MN SLRP, all sites must:

  1. Be nonprofit private or public entities (“Nonprofit private entity” is defined in the federal grant guidance as “an entity which may not lawfully hold or use any part of its net earnings to the benefit of any private shareholder or individual and which does not hold or use its net earnings for that purpose.” Since a provider in a solo or group practice presumably uses some or all of the net earnings from that private practice for his/her benefit, such practices do not qualify as a “nonprofit private entity,” and therefore are not eligible to participate in the loan repayment program);
  2. Be located in a federally designated Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA);
  3. Have implemented a sliding-fee discount schedule for uninsured patients based on income status, with discounts started at least 200 percent Federal Poverty Guidelines and a nominal rate (or free) available to patients at 100 percent Federal Poverty Guidelines and below;
  4. Have a written and posted policy that patients will not be denied services due to inability to pay; and
  5. Accept Medicare assignment and have entered into the appropriate agreement with Minnesota Public Insurance Programs.

Types of sites eligible to participate include:

  • Federally Qualified Health Centers  (FQHC’s)
  • FQHC Look-Alikes
  • Rural Health Clinics (with the required policies)
  • State and County Mental Health Hospitals
  • Community Mental Health Centers
  • Mobile Clinical Units
  • Indian Health Service Clinics
  • Tribal Health Clinics
  • State or Federal Correctional Facilities
  • Other Community Outpatient Clinics that provide a full range of primary and preventative health services

Technical Assistance

Approved sites are responsible for recruiting their own providers within these guidelines. The Office of Rural Health and Primary Care can provide a limited amount of technical assistance through its state-funded recruitment and retention program. For technical assistance, site eligibility or a site application contact Debra Jahnke of the Office of Rural Health and Primary Care at (651) 201-3845 or (800) 366-5424 (Minnesota only) or debra.jahnke@state.mn.us.


 

Updated Friday, 13-Dec-2013 09:40:10 CST