CalHealthCares is now accepting applications for the new loan repayment program. This is a program that is meant to incentivize doctors to provide care to Medi-Cal beneficiaries by repaying educational debt up to $300,000 in exchange for a five-year service obligation. The application will be available on January 13th, 2020. all the awardees will be required to maintain a patient caseload of 30 percent or more Medi-Cal beneficiaries. The applications for the program will be accepted through April 26, 2019, for its inaugural cycle.
The program is funded by the state tobacco tax (Proposition 56) revenue and its main purpose is to expand access to care for the Medi-Cal patients. Like previously mentioned, the recipients of the student loan have to be recent graduates and should maintain a minimum patient caseload of at least 30% for five years. Another requirement for the awardees is that they must submit a business plan that demonstrates their ability to relocate, expand or even establish a practice in one of the specific counties determined to have the highest need for the Medi-Cal dentists and be willing to commit to the program for 10 years.
The program aims to increase access to care for California’s 13 million Medi-Cal patients. Proposition 56 is a measure that provided a one-time allocation of $220 million for the state loan repayment programs. The California Department of Health Care Services has contracted Physicians for a Healthy California (PHC) to administer the program. In August, the program announced awards worth $10.1 million in student loan repayments awarded to 38 dentists. Loan repayments worth $57.3 million were awarded to 240 physicians.
Requirements for the awardees:
- Have an unrestricted license and be in good standing with your licensing board (Osteopathic Medical Board of California or Medical Board of California)
- Be an actively enrolled Medi-Cal provider without suspensions, disbarment or revocations; or have submitted an application to DHCS to become a Medi-Cal provider
- Have graduated from a physician residency program and/or completed a fellowship within the past five years (on or after January 1, 2014)
- Have an existing educational loan debt incurred while pursuing a medical degree
- Not currently be participating in another loan repayment program
- Practice in California
- If awarded, maintain a patient caseload of 30% or more Medi-Cal beneficiaries
Those who wish to apply for an award in 2020 are encouraged to review materials, including the eligibility requirements and application instructions, and to also attend a live webinar or alternatively, watch a recorded one. All this is intended to help them improve their application scores. Given that the deadline for the application is on the 7th, this means that there is a narrow application window and applying early might allow the program organizers to address any problem areas with the applicants.
Reasons for ineligibility
In 2019, applicants were deemed ineligible for a grant if (1) were found by DHCS to be not in good standing (e.g., were not enrolled in Medi-Cal or had an active suspension), (2) submitted an incomplete employer verification form or a form that included information that was inconsistent with information provided within the application, (3) were already enrolled in another loan repayment program at the time of application and (4) did not meet the graduation date requirement (student loan repayment grant applicants must have graduated no more than five years prior to application).
Required Business Plan
The applicants who apply for the grant must:
- Provide a well-researched business plan that documents their plans for establishing, expanding or relocating their practice to one of the highest-need counties listed on the application.
- Include in their business plan a general company description and information on products and services, economics, patients and consumers, personnel, equipment and supplies, and a revenue forecast or financial plan.
Of importance to note is the section on the patient caseload. This has been weighted the heaviest on both the award applications (20 out of 45 possible points for the loan repayment grant and 20/50 for the practice support grant) followed by the personal statement (10 points) and, for the practice support grant only, the business plan (10 points).
PHC stresses that the applicants need to fill out both the current and proposed patient caseload tables and answer all questions in the two narrative questions: 1) How will they calculate their existing Medi-Cal beneficiary caseload and 2) How will they and their employer meet their Medi-Cal patient caseload.
The applicants of the 2020 application cycle will be notified of the awards on or around May 1, 2020.
Find eligibility requirements, Q&As, recorded webinars and more information on the CalHealthCares website. Email any questions to email@example.com. Apply online through the website beginning Jan. 13, 2020.
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