Address: 301 Centennial Mall South P.O. Box 95026 Lincoln, NE 68509-5026 Project Director: Margaret Brockman Contact Information: Office (402) 471-6057, Fax (402) 471-0180 Margaret.Brockman@nebraska.gov https://dhhs.ne.gov/Pages/Rural-Health-Nebraska-Loan-Repayment-Programs.aspx Funds Requested: $4,000,000 ($1,000,000 per year) Project Abstract The purpose of the Nebraska State Loan Repayment Program (SLRP) is to improve access to care by assisting rural and urban communities that are designated as Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSA) to recruit and retain health professionals. This program complements the state-funded loan repayment program and meets a pressing need in our state. While the state-funded program has been effective in placing various health professionals (e.g., primary care practitioners, dentists, and mental health professionals) in shortage areas, a shortage of many providers still exists in several HPSA. Additionally, registered nurses are excluded from participation in the state program. During this next grant period, the major expansion of the SLRP program will be to registered nurses, to address that need in our state. The program will continue to focus on placing primary care professionals (physicians, physician assistants, and nurse practitioners) in designated shortage areas, and will also be available to dentists, pharmacists, and mental health professionals. A total of $4,000,000 ($1,000,000 per year) is requested to place qualifying healthcare professionals in either FQHCs, CAHs, or RHCs in designated HPSAs over the four-year period. Funding for one full time staff member to manage the program is also requested. The grant will address improving access to mental health care (HHS and HRSA Organizational Priority) by funding seven mental health providers per year. Other major objectives addressed are as follows: 1. Increase primary health care workforce serving in HPSA 2
. Incentivize providers to serve in HPSA by offering loan repayment covering eligible educational loans 3. Develop partnerships between academia, primary care delivery sites, Primary Care Associations, Primary Care Office, Governor's Offices, Health Departments, and community-based organizations The Nebraska SLRP generally makes awards once a year with two-year contracts, starting on September 1st of each year. Award recipients are selected from applicants on a waiting list that serves both the SLRP and state-funded loan repayment programs. Along with expanding eligibility to registered nurses, the ORH plans to continue providing one time extensions for those healthcare professionals with outstanding loan balances past their initial two-year commitment.