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Society asks Joint Committee on Finance to preserve physician workforce and loan assistance funding

The Wisconsin Medical Society and other stakeholders signed on to two letters this week asking the Joint Committee on Finance (JCF) to preserve funding for the Wisconsin Rural Physician Residency Assistance Program (WRPRAP), the Physician and Dentist Loan Assistance Program (PDLAP) and the Health Care Provider Loan Assistance Program (HPLAP). The JCF is expected to take up maintaining funding for these programs at its next executive session.

In an errata memo, the Walker Administration clarified that funding for the WRPRAP program had been inadvertently deleted in the original budget. The budget director indicated that Gov. Scott Walker’s intention had been to maintain funding for both the WRPRAP and the PDLAP programs. In this letter, the Society and others asked the JCF to delete the provisions from the budget, which would maintain the two programs and have no effect on the revenue condition of the overall proposed state budget.

Under WRPRAP, state funding is made available to support graduate medical education rotations in rural areas. In 2013-2014, WRPRAP provided support for 75 such rotations, during which the program’s residents spend at least eight weeks of clinical time in a rural area.

Under PDLAP, up to $100,000 in education loans may be repaid on behalf of physicians who agree to practice in one or more eligible practice areas in the state. There are currently 10 physicians using the funds provided from the Critical Access Hospital trust fund to help repay education loans.

Continued funding for HPLAP remains more uncertain, as deleting the provision and restoring the program would also require restoring state revenue that has already been allocated under the proposed budget. Under HPLAP, providers may have up to $25,000 in education loans repaid if they agree to practice in one or more eligible practice areas in the state. To be eligible, a provider must enter into a written agreement that he or she agrees to practice at least 32 clinic hours per week, 45 weeks per year, for three years in an eligible practice area. Click here to read the letter to the JCF.

Back to May 28, 2015 Medigram