There are several key federal health programs that are critical to helping support a sufficient and diverse physician workforce. The following programs within Title VII are noteworthy because they have a significant impact on the pipeline of primary care physicians:
Primary Care Loans (PCL) Program
Participating medical schools are provided funds by the Health Resources & Services Administration’s (HRSA) Bureau of Health Workforce (BHW) through BHW’s school-based scholarship and loans programs. Long-term, low-interest rate loans are made available to full-time, economically disadvantaged students to obtain a degree in allopathic or osteopathic medicine.
Students who receive loans under the PCL program agree to enter and complete residency training in primary care within four years after graduation and practice primary care for 10 years or until the loan is paid in full, whichever occurs first.
Scholarships for Disadvantaged Students (SDS) Program
HRSA also provides grants to medical schools to fund scholarships for students from disadvantaged backgrounds, enrolled in health professions programs. This program is funded through the annual congressional appropriations process and is anticipated to receive funds in FY2021 consistent with the prior year.
Faculty Loan Repayment Program (FLRP)
HRSA furnishes loans to individuals with an eligible health professions degree from disadvantaged backgrounds pursuing a career as a faculty member at a health professions school that have at least a two-year employment commitment from an approved health professions institution. Loan payment assistance up to $40,000 is available.
Primary Care Training and Enhancement (PCTE) - Section 747 of Title VII Health Professions
Also within HRSA’s BHW, Title VII Health Professions, specifically the PCTE program, is critical because it is the only federal program dedicated to funding and improving training of primary care physicians.
ACP strongly supports increasing funding for the Title VII PCTE program and has made it part of its advocacy priorities for many years. PCTE is funded through the annual congressional appropriations process and is anticipated to receive funds in FY2022 consistent with the prior fiscal year.
PCTE funds medical education training programs for physicians to improve the quantity, quality, distribution, and diversity of the primary care workforce.