The District of Columbia Department of Health (DC Health) requests $3,634,507 in State Loan Repayment Program (SLRP) funds for a four-year grant period to expand its existing Health Professional Loan Repayment Program (HPLRP). The goal of the HPLRP is to provide a locally administered incentive for recruiting and retaining primary care, dental, and mental health providers to practice in Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs) in DC. The federal request of $3,634,507 will be used for new HPLRP contracts that will add, over the four-year grant period, 42 new participants to the Program and an estimated 95 contract renewals, sustaining a participant ratio of 50% primary care providers, 20% dental providers, and 30% mental health providers. The request also includes administrative costs to support the HPLRP Program Coordinator’s time on grant activities. Over the course of the last four years, HPLRP has continued to evolve, including implementation of quality improvement initiatives and innovative strategies to recruit and retain eligible providers in Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs). Recent improvements include but are not limited to: redesign of scoring to improve engagement, launch of trainings such as DC Healthcare Landscape and Implicit Bias, orientation for newly accepted participants, and improvements in the data management systems to enhance data analysis and reporting, and revamped marketing materials to enhance recruitment. In the upcoming grant period, in addition to recruiting 42 new SLRP-funded participants and renewals, the Program will continue to implement virtual orientations and a series of trainings to support the professional development of HPLRP participants to improve retention and provide high quality care to diverse District residents. To increase access to primary care services in underserved communities/populations, the Program anticipates expansion of the eligibility criteria to include part-tim
e status and private practices. The program will seek to address one health outcome during the funding period: reducing the number of opioid related deaths through targeted recruitment of Substance Use Disorder and Medicated Assisted Treatment providers, and one health disparity: improving engagement with preventative care from 53.6 to 60% among residents in Wards 7 and 8. All activities will be carried out by the Primary Care Office (PCO) in coordination with a wide range of internal and external partners, including DC Health programs, sister government agencies, private and public organizations, and the District’s federally qualified health centers.