The Arizona Primary Care Office (PCO) within the Arizona Department of Health Services, Bureau of Women’s and Children’s Health (BWCH) requests support from Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to fund the Arizona State Loan Repayment Program (SLRP). The mission of the PCO is to optimize the health of Arizona residents by developing and strengthening systems and services to expand access to primary care to promote the well-being of all Arizona residents with emphasis on the health needs of underserved people. Arizona suffers from a disproportionate distribution of providers evident by a total of 611 federally designated Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs) consisting of 238 primary, 211 dental, and 212 mental designations, as well as 37 Medically Underserved Areas (MUAs) and 10 Medically Underserved Population (MUPs) designations. Arizona needs 653 primary care physicians, 389 dentists, and 183 psychiatrists to eliminate these HPSAs. SLRP will help address the State’s workforce shortages by recruiting eligible health care professionals to these HPSAs for improved access to care and better health outcomes for residents. Arizona SLRP is requesting $1 million from HRSA’s SLRP to support provider contracts and to support building the infrastructure needed via a PCO Portal to effectively manage the growing SLRP program. Through this grant, the PCO will be able to recruit approximately 35-40 additional primary care providers each year through SLRP. The PCO will conduct evidence-based recruitment and retention strategies as well as integrated and holistic approaches involving partners and stakeholders to leverage resources for recruitment and retention. The program will focus on increasing the number of health care professionals serving in rural and high need areas of Arizona. SLRP providers serving in areas with the greatest need based on HPSA scores will receive higher loan repayment incentives in exchange for service. The prog
ram will improve its marketing strategies to attract mental health providers to participate in SLRP in order to increase access to mental health services and treatment to help address the State’s opioid crisis and other mental health issues. The Arizona SLRP will accomplish the grant project by: 1) fostering and strengthening collaboration on an ongoing basis with local, state, territorial, tribal, federal entities, and key partners such as the Arizona Primary Care Association, the State Office of Rural Health, and the various primary care training programs to facilitate enrollment to SLRP; 2) providing needed technical assistance to applicants and service sites to ensure understanding of state and federal eligibility requirements; 3) promoting and disseminating SLRP resources to support the expansion of primary care services; 4) recruiting qualified primary care providers and prioritizing placement in higher need areas; and 5) retaining SLRP applicants through ongoing support and technical assistance. The activities described in this grant application will be implemented by dedicated PCO staff with support from the PCO Director and ADHS Leadership.