Additional Funding Will Enable Arizona to Address Critical Health Care Provider Shortages
The Arizona Department of Health Services has received $1 million from the Health Resources and Services Administration at the US Department of Health and Human Services to enhance efforts to recruit health providers to serve in rural and underserved areas through ADHS’ State Loan Repayment Program (SLRP). The federal funding increases the total SLRP funding annually to $2 million, 100% of which goes to loan repayment contracts.
This increased funding will facilitate improved access to care in communities that have limited or no access through the recruitment and retention of providers in those areas. The funding will support more providers with larger awards in order to make the SLRP competitive with other loan repayment programs, such as the federal National Health Service Corps Loan Repayment Program.
Governor Doug Ducey signed Senate Bill 1194 in February of 2015, enhancing the Arizona SLRP by expanding the types of providers that can receive loan repayment assistance, increasing the award amounts for the initial and succeeding commitment years, and removing the four-year service cap. This bill was followed with an increased appropriation approved by the Arizona Legislature in 2017, growing the state dollars available for the program from $650,000 to $1 million and making Arizona eligible for the full $1 million federal match. Arizona’s successful application for the full match was awarded in May of 2018.
“Arizona has seen tangible benefits from increased investments in the Student Loan Repayment Program since 2015,” said Governor Doug Ducey. “Now, with the addition of $1 million in available funds, Arizona will be able to further its commitment to better serve rural and underserved communities by increasing in the number of health care providers available in critical areas across the state.”
Since the passage of SB 1194 in 2015, the SLRP has seen a 300% increase in applications. The additional funding was critical to address the growing number of applications and provide more awards to health care providers. The ADHS State Loan Repayment Program is working to finalize and notify successful applicants for the 2018 application cycle with contracts starting October 1, 2018.
“We have made steady progress on increasing the numbers and types of applicants to the Student Loan Repayment Program,” said Dr. Cara Christ, director of the Arizona Department of Health Services. “The additional funding will help us provide more awards to address critical needs in our underserved areas caused by health care provider shortages.”