Minnesota Urban Physician Loan Forgiveness Guidelines
Current cycle: The Minnesota Health Care Loan Forgiveness program cycle is OPEN November 1, 2022. Download the Loan Forgiveness PIN
Urban mental health professionals and urban doctors must practice within a federally designated Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA) or in a Medically Underserved Area/Population (MUA/P). AND/OR serve a patient population of at least 25 percent public program enrollees or receiving discounts through a formal sliding fee scale schedule.
The HPSA "Find by Address" query available on the HRSA Data Warehouse at http://datawarehouse.hrsa.gov/tools/analyzers/geo/ShortageArea.aspx will identify if an address is located within a Geographic HPSA, Population HPSA or an MUA/P. It will not identify if the address has a Facility HPSA, a type of HPSA designation that is specific and unique to the facility located at that address. If you think your facility may have a Facility HPSA or you have questions about HPSA Find, you can contact the program administrator within the Office of Rural Health and Primary Care.
The purpose of Minnesota’s Health Care Loan Forgiveness program is to recruit and retain health care professionals to needed areas and facilities within Minnesota. Loan forgiveness is an important benefit for health care professionals as well as health care facilities and communities experiencing a shortage of access to primary health care services.
The Office of Rural Health and Primary Care (ORHPC), Minnesota Department of Health administers this program. It is funded by the State of Minnesota. Program eligibility requirements and benefits are established by state statute, 144.1501 authorizing the health professional education loan forgiveness program.
This program is offered to primary care medical professions, which include Family Practice, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Pediatrics, Internal Medicine and Psychiatry, who plan to practice in an underserved urban community. A prospective participant must submit an application to ORHPC during the open application cycle, as a practicing physician or while completing their final year of medical residency training.
The Urban Physician Loan Forgiveness Program provides funds for repayment of Qualified Educational Loans. Qualified Educational Loans include government, commercial, and foundation loans for actual costs paid for tuition, reasonable education and living expenses related to the past graduate or undergraduate education of the Physician. Credit card debt or loans from family members do not qualify. Parent PLUS loans do not qualify.
Loans in current or active default are NOT eligible for forgiveness in this program, even if considered in good standing with the collections agency. Previously defaulted loans that have since been completely rehabilitated and are not currently in active default status are eligible.
This is a competitive selection process. Selections are made based on suitability for practice as indicated by personal and professional experience and training noted on an application, as well as preference given to those closest to completing their training. Preference will be given to applicants who document diverse cultural competencies. The number of applicants ORHPC may select for participation varies annually and is contingent upon state funding.
Participants are required to practice for at least 30 hours per week, for at least 45 weeks per year, for a minimum of three years in an underserved urban community. An underserved urban community in Minneapolis or St. Paul is defined by Minnesota statute 144.1501 as a health professional shortage area (HPSA), medically underserved area (MUA), or with medically underserved populations (MUP). Use the website from the federal Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to verify that a clinic or facility is in one of these designations.
Selected participants shall provide direct patient care hours/client–centered services. Hours cannot be fulfilled meeting with providers, process improvement, policy development, supervising, or administering programs.
Participants must begin their service obligation under this program no later than March 31 following selection. Participants must complete their residency program as originally stated in their application.
Participants are eligible to participate for up to four years of loan forgiveness during which they serve as a physician in an underserved urban community. ORHPC will make an annual payment to the participant in the amount of $33,000, not to exceed $132,000 total for the maximum four-year period or the balance of the designated loan(s), whichever is less subject to the availability of funds appropriated by the Minnesota State Legislature for the loan forgiveness program.