Physician Education Loan Repayment Program
The purpose of the Physician Education Loan Repayment Program is to encourage qualified physicians to practice medicine in a Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA) as designated by the US Department of Health and Human Services, and to provide health care services to recipients under the medical assistance program authorized by the Texas Human Resources Code, Chapter 32, and to enrollees under the child health plan program authorized by the Texas Health and Safety Code, Chapter 62.
Approved Primary Care Specialties
- Family Medicine/Family Practice
- General Practice
- General Internal Medicine
- General Pediatrics
To be eligible for the Board to reserve loan repayment funds, a physician must;
- Be a US citizen or Legal Permanent Resident and hold a full physician license from the Texas Medical Board, with no restrictions;
- Be eligible to take the exam for board certification from the specialty board established by THECB administrative rules during the first, second, or third service period, if the physician has not earned and maintained board certification;
- Agree to provide four consecutive years of service in a
-Federally designated HPSA,
-Secure correctional facility operated by or under contract with the Texas Juvenile Justice Department (limited to 10 recipients at a secure correctional facility per year), or
-Secure correctional facility operated by or under contract with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (limited to 10 recipients at a secure correctional facility per year);
- Provide direct patient care to Medicaid enrollees and/or the Texas Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) enrollees;
- Not be currently fulfilling another obligation to provide medical services as part of a scholarship agreement, a student loan agreement, or another student loan repayment program.
Alternative Eligibility Path – Contingent on End-Of-Year Funds
Legislation passed by the 83rd Texas Legislature allows primary care physicians who are not practicing in HPSAs or secure correctional facilities to qualify for participation in the PELRP if, during the applicable year, they have provided services to a designated minimum number of Medicaid or Healthy Texas Women Program enrollees.
Applications based on this provision will be considered during the quarter ending August 31, only if funds are available after financial commitments for state fiscal year funds have been made to primary care physicians practicing in HPSAs and secure correctional facilities. The following number of unduplicated clients are required per practice specialty:
- Family Medicine: 200
- Internal Medicine: 200
- Pediatrics: 200
- Obstetrics and Gynecology: 200
- Geriatrics: 25
- Psychiatry: 150
For additional details, please review the administrative rules for the program.
How to Apply
To complete an application, go to the Physician Education Loan Repayment Program Application for Enrollment.
The current quarterly deadline for application submission is February 28, 2019.
$25,000 for the first service period or 16% if the total loan balance is less than $160,000.
$35,000 for the second service period or 22% if the total loan balance is less than $160,000.
$45,000 for the third service period or 28% if the total loan balance is less than $160,000.
$55,000 for the fourth service period or 34% if the total loan balance is less than $160,000.
- Must be evidenced by a promissory note which required the loan proceeds to be used to pay for the cost of attendance for undergraduate, graduate, or medical education;
- May not have been made during residency or to cover costs incurred after completion of medical school;
- May not be in default at the time of the physician’s application; and
- May not have an existing service obligation.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I know if my site is located in a HPSA?
To verify if your site is located in a HPSA, go to the Health Resources and Services Administration Shortage Areas search page. The site address that needs to be verified is the site where you are physically working, not where the headquarters or administration office is located.
I do not practice in one of the approved primary care specialties. Am I eligible to apply?
Maybe. You are eligible to apply if you are practicing a subspecialty in a HPSA. Applications from subspecialists will be held until the end of the last quarter of the fiscal year, (August) to determine if funds will be available after all primary care physicians in HPSAs have been considered.
Do I have to commit to four years of service?
Yes. If you are working in a HPSA, you will have to commit to providing four years of service. However, if the funding is reduced or eliminated by the Texas Legislature, you will be released from the obligation.
Do I have to apply each year?
If you are not working in a HPSA and have applied through the alternative pathway, a form will be mailed to you each year asking if you wish to continue to participate and anticipate seeing the requested number of unduplicated clients.
What happens if I leave the program? Do I have to pay back any money I received?
If you change locations and the new location is not a HPSA, you move out of the state, or you fail to meet any of the program requirements, you will be removed from the program. You will not be required to pay back any funds received, but will not be allowed to apply for any loan repayment programs offered by the State of Texas.
What if I want to change practice sites?
If you wish to change practice sites, the new site must be in a HPSA to continue to be eligible for the program.
How do you determine when my service period begins and ends?
The initial service period begins on the first day of the month following the date the application is received or the first date of employment, whichever is later. Once a service period is established, it will be the same for all years of participation.
Does my practice site have to have a high HPSA score?
No. The practice site does not need to have any particular HPSA score. However, the score may be used if ranking of applications takes place.
How many people are allowed in the program?
There is no limit to the number of people allowed in the program as long as there is funding. Only 10 physicians are allowed in the program each year if the physician works for a secure correctional facility.
How many Medicaid patients do I need to see?
There is no minimum number of Medicaid patients you need to see if you are working in a HPSA. However, if you are not working in a HPSA, you must meet the service levels above to possibly be awarded funds. The service number of unduplicated clients will be verified by the Health and Human Services Commission.
I don’t have a TPI number. What is that?
A TPI number is a Texas Provider Number. Not every physician has one. You do need to have an NPI number, National Provider Number.
What is considered full-time?
Full-time is a minimum of 32.5 hours of direct patient care per week for primary care physicians and 32 hours of service per week for psychiatrists.
Can I receive payment for part-time?
You can receive a pro-rated award for part-time employment as long as you are providing a minimum of 20 hours of direct patient care per week in a HPSA.
Can I be faculty?
Yes, you can be faculty as long as you are also seeing your own patients for a minimum of 20 hours of direct patient care per week.
Is the percentage of the award amount based on my original loan balance or my current loan balance?
The percentage is based on the verified loan balance at the time of the application for enrollment review. If the physician owes less than $160,000, the goal is to pay off the loan within 4 years.
When will I receive my award?
The award will not be forwarded to the lender until you have completed one service period and all program requirements have been met. Approximately 30 days before the end of the service period, end of service period documentation will be emailed to you.