NEW CASTLE (May 4, 2022) – The Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) has launched a state-sponsored Health Care Provider Loan Repayment Program (HCPLRP). Under the new loan repayment program, eligible clinicians may receive up to $50,000 per year in loan repayment for a maximum of four years of employment in Delaware.
Governor John Carney signed House Bill 48 with House Amendment 1 on Aug. 10, 2021, establishing the loan repayment program administered by the Delaware Health Care Commission (DHCC). The program is a valuable tool to incentivize providers to practice in Delaware, in addition to attracting more providers to the state’s primary care workforce.
“We are grateful to Governor Carney and to the General Assembly for their support of the Health Care Provider Loan Repayment Program,” said DHSS Secretary Molly Magarik. “It’s clear that we need to find ways to attract more primary care providers to practice in Delaware, and this state-sponsored program is a strategic way to do that.”
“When it comes to health care, Delawareans deserve to be treated by highly trained professionals at medical facilities statewide,” said Rep. David Bentz, the lead sponsor of House Bill 48. “However, we are facing a shortage of doctors as the demand for them grows. That’s why we passed HB 48, which offers an attractive incentive to Delaware students in residency programs here, as well as establishes an education loan repayment program for medical professionals who currently work in Delaware. With this law, we can work toward recruiting and retaining top primary care doctors. I’m grateful to the Delaware Health Care Commission for taking a leadership role in running the grant program and ensuring that we have more health care workers throughout the state, including in underserved communities.”
In Fiscal Year 2022, the General Assembly allocated $1 million in state funds to support the loan repayment program. The Delaware Health Care Commission also received, in December 2021, a $1 million one-time contribution from Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield Delaware. For Fiscal Year 2023, beginning July 1, 2022, the Governor’s Recommended Budget has proposed an additional $1 million in state funds to support the program.
“The Delaware Health Care Commission is excited to be able to implement HB48 and offer health care providers, who are interested in practicing in Delaware, worked to address this crisis through the development of the Health Care Workforce Subcommittee; supporting education through Delaware Institute of Medical Education and Research (DIMER) and (Delaware Institute of Dental Education and Research (DIDER); providing practice sustainability through the Primary Care Reform Collaborative; and now incentivizing providers to practice in Delaware with the State Health Care Provider Loan Repayment Program,” said Dr. Nancy Fan, Chair of the Delaware Health Care Commission and a practicing OB/GYN. “We are excited to be able to implement HB48 and offer primary care providers, who will be practicing in Delaware, meaningful financial relief, so they can build a sustainable practice and increase access for our patients to quality, affordable care.”
Qualifying clinicians must be a new primary care provider in an ambulatory or outpatient setting and completed graduate education within six months of the application for HCPLRP being submitted. Eligible health care providers include physicians practicing family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, obstetrics/gynecology, geriatrics, and psychiatry as well as Nurse Practitioners, Certified Nurse Midwives, Clinical Nurse Specialists, and Physicians Assistants practicing adult medicine, family medicine, pediatrics, psychiatry/mental health, geriatrics, and women’s health.
Employers may apply on behalf of their affiliated, qualifying clinicians for education loan repayment grants. These sites may include:
• Hospital primary care practices
• Private practices
• Federally Qualified Health Centers
• Community outpatient facilities
• Community mental health facilities
• Free medical clinics
For awards issued to practitioners employed by Delaware health care facilities, hospitals and health systems must provide a 50% match for loan repayment awards.
Priority consideration will be given to Delaware Institute of Medical Education and Research (DIMER)-participating students and participants in Delaware based residency programs. Delaware is one of four states that does not have its own medical school. To accommodate the growing demand for primary care physicians across the state, the General Assembly created DIMER to support affiliated agreements with two medical schools in Philadelphia: Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM) and Thomas Jefferson, Sidney Kimmel Medical College (SKMC). A minimum of 120 academic seats are reserved annually (80 at Sidney Kimmel and 40 at PCOM) for Delaware residents applying to an allopathic or osteopathic degree program. New DIMER graduates are eligible for HCPLRP.
Delaware’s Health Care Provider Loan Repayment Program application is available online.
Applications are now accepted on a rolling basis and will be reviewed on the following schedule:
June 1, 2022*
Aug. 1, 2022*
Oct. 1, 2022
* Applicants in the June 1 and August 1 review cycles must have completed their graduate medical education by July 2021 or sometime thereafter. Applicants in the Oct. 1 review cycle must complete their graduate education by 2022 or sometime thereafter.
In addition to the state-sponsored Health Care Provider Loan Repayment Program, Delaware has operated a federal state loan repayment program (SLRP) supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. SLRP offers similar incentives: up to $200,000 for four-year contractual agreements to provide services in federally designated Health Professional Shortage Areas. Where SLRP differs from HCPLRP is in designated areas of need, eligible professional disciplines, types of health care employment facilities that qualify, and date of graduation in respective disciplines.
To learn more about Health Care Provider Loan Repayment Program and the federal state loan repayment program, visit the Health Care Commission’s website.
The Department of Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of life of Delaware’s citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.