The Health Professional Loan Repayment Program was created in 1990 by the Washington State Legislature to attract and retain licensed primary care health professionals to serve in critical shortage areas in Washington State. The program provides educational assistance in either conditional scholarship or loan repayment. The Loan Repayment portion of the program provides loan payment assistance to licensed primary care health professionals.
The Health Professional Loan Repayment program benefits health care professionals by reducing their educational debt. In return, program participants agree to provide primary care health care in rural or underserved urban areas with designated shortages. In 2012, approximately 120 health professionals worked in underserved areas of Washington as a result of this program. By encouraging health care professionals to work in the most medically underserved urban and rural communities, the state is able to reduce barriers to quality healthcare services for its citizens. Since its inception, the program has funded over 1,000 professionals serving in 38 Washington's 39 counties. Further, according to a recent national survey, over 80 percent of the recipient responders anticipate remaining in their health professional shortage service site for two additional years following their service term.
The program is a two-step process. First the site must apply each year for approval. The eligible site list is posted in January when the provider application cycle opens. The second step is for the provider to apply and compete for an award.
The 2014-15 Application Cycle is awarding providers up to $35,000 per year for a minimum two-year ($70,000) full time service obligation. Each additional one-year extension request amount is based on funds available.
Eligible professions include:
- Physician (MD, DO or Psychiatrist)
- Nurse Practitioner
- Physician Assistant
- Midwife (Certified Nurse)
- Registered Nurse
- Registered Dental Hygienist
To be eligible to apply, the participant must:
- Be employed or have a contract to begin seeing patients no later than July 1, 2014.
- Submit documentation of eligible outstanding educational debt (does not include Parent Plus Loans, loans with a cosigner, or loans not in your name).
- If you have a Primary Care Loan it must be paid in full before applying for this program. If it is not, you are not eligible to apply.
- Be a United States citizen (Permanent residents do not qualify).
- Provide primary care and not specialty care.
- Be employed at an eligible site. Stand-alone urgent care/walk in clinics, specialty care or placement agencies are not considered eligible sites. Provider must be a permanent employee of the site.
- Sign a contract to serve for a minimum of two years or pay funds back with penalty (see Guidelines and Terms of Agreement for details).
Participants must provide full-time service for a minimum of two years and additional service year-for-year for contract extension renewals. Participant must:
- Be employed or have a contract to begin employment (seeing patients) at an eligible site no later than July 1, 2014.
- Work a minimum of 40 hours per week (See Guidelines and Terms of Agreement for definition of full time).
- Submit the required Quarterly Service Verification Form and supporting payment history to show funds are being applied to eligible loans.
Please review the 2014-15 Guidelines and Terms of Agreement prior to beginning an application.
Verify that your site is on the current Eligible Site List under your profession.
Submit the Online Provider Application by 5:00 p.m., April 30, 2014. You must mail the required attachments postmarked no later than April 30, 2014. Documents may not be faxed or emailed.
To access the online application, click here: https://fortress.wa.gov/wsac/portal/, then register as a “student.”
Before you begin the application you will need to have the following information available:
- Employer name, address and supervisor’s name, phone number, and email address.
- Lender statements with names, addresses and current balances (be sure to include ALL lenders, you cannot add lenders once your application has been submitted).
- Name, dates and degree(s) from college/universities you have attended.
- If applicable, dates and place of residency, internship or preceptorship.
- Licensure information, date of license and license number (includes licenses from other states).
- If applicable, Medicaid Core Provider Number (not required).
- Employment start date (month, day and year).
- Break-out of the number of patients you will personally see (Medicare/Medicaid, uninsured, sliding fee, charity, private pay, etc).
- List of rural counties (both Washington and other states) you have lived in, the dates, zip code and length of time you lived there.
- To be eligible, the site must either be located in a Federal Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA) or have a HPSA designation.
- The site is required to have an implemented and posted Sliding Fee Discount Fee Schedule.
- Previous eligible sites must reapply each year to be eligible to be listed on the current year’s eligible site list.
- If the organization has multiple clinics/locations, each individual site (physical location) must submit a separate application.
- Dental, Medical, and Mental Health applications must be submitted separately.
- May apply for multiple professions.
- May apply for both recruitment and retention.
- Must submit the application online by the deadline date.
- Will be notified of the status of their application by email.
The site application must be approved prior to the provider being eligible to apply.
Both the site application and provider application are competitive processes. Not all who apply will be approved or awarded.
To be eligible, the site must either be located in a Federal Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA) or have a HPSA designation. To find out if your site qualifies go to: http://datawarehouse.hrsa.gov/GeoAdvisor/ShortageDesignationAdvisor.aspx
The Washington Student Achievement Council, in coordination with the Department of Health, oversees the site application process. To access the online application, go to https://fortress.wa.gov/wsac/portal/. Click on register and follow the directions to register as a student.
If you have submitted an online site application previously, enter your email address and password to login and access your site application. If you forgot your password, click on the link to reset your password. Please note, you will not be able to access the application when the application cycle is not open.
Once you submit your application, you will not be able to make changes. You can contact Chris Wilkins at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 360-753-7794 to make changes before 4/30/14. After that no changes or additions can be made to the applications. You may also contact Bonnie Burlingham for general site questions at email@example.com or 360-296-2819.
Loan Repayment Program Forms:
- Quarterly Service Verification Form Instructions
- Loan Repayment Quarterly Service Verification - (PDF)
- Loan Repayment Quarterly Service Verification - (Word fillable format)
- Request for Deferment of Service or Payment
- Transfer Request
- Frequently Asked Questions