Overview: The Missouri State Loan Repayment Program (MSLRP) utilizes the federal SLRP grant funding to provide awards to qualifying primary care medical, dental, and mental health providers to pay towards their eligible educational debt in exchange for a service obligation, delivering quality health care services in Missouri’s Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs). The MSLRP coordinates efforts to increase access to primary health care services for underserved communities and individuals by partnering with the Missouri Primary Care Association, Area Health Education Centers, the State Office of Rural Health, the Missouri Hospital Association, and the Region VII Office of the Bureau of Health Workforce. Objective: The MSLRP increases access to primary health care services for underserved and vulnerable populations by participating in recruitment and retention activities and assisting with placing health care professionals in Missouri’s HPSAs. Clinical Priorities: The MSLRP is available to licensed primary care physicians, dentists, and psychiatrists. Methodology: Missouri consists of 115 counties, including St. Louis City, of these, 99 are rural and 16 are urban. Statistics from the Health Resources and Services Administration, indicate that Missouri has 329 Primary Care HPSAs with a population of 1,643,257, 112 Missouri Counties are designated as a Primary Care HPSA (only 3 are not), and the percentage of primary care needs being met is only 9.77%; 319 Dental Health HPSAs with a population of 1,675,973, 113 Missouri Counties are designated as a Dental Health HPSA (only 2 are not), and the percentage of dental health care needs being met is only 12.27%; 252 Mental Health HPSAs with a population of 1,836,532, 112 Missouri Counties are designated as a Mental Health HPSA (only 3 are not), and the percentage of mental health care needs being met is only 5.93%. An additional 492 primary care physicians, 365 dentists, and 140 mental health pr
actitioners are needed to remove the Primary Care, Dental Health, and Mental Health HPSA designations in Missouri. Missouri’s data demonstrates the urgent need of additional health care providers in order to meet the health care access needs of the population. To improve access to primary health care services for underserved and vulnerable populations, the MSLRP accepts applications from January 1 to March 1, each year. Once the application cycle is closed, applications will be reviewed to complete the selection process. Once selected applicants are determined, the award letters and contracts will be completed by no later than June 30, each year. Loan repayment participants will receive up to $50,000 for a 2-year contractual service obligation. MSLRP will also award an increased repayment amount to each qualifying loan recipient, from state funds, verifying that the applicant provides any of the following four qualifying services in alignment with HHS priorities: Substance Use Disorder Treatment, Opioid Use Disorder Treatment, Behavioral and Mental Health Services, and Telehealth Services. For each of the qualifying services provided, they may be awarded up to $2,500, with a maximum of allowable amount of $10,000. All awarded funds are anticipated to be disbursed prior to June 30. The MSLRP expects to provide annual awards to 28 providers, each budget period, with a total estimated 112 practitioners funded from the 4-year grant cycle. The practitioners will serve their obligations in HPSAs with qualifying employment settings, including a public or non-profit facility, Rural Health Clinic, or Federally Qualified Health Center. Missouri currently has 37 providers practicing in rural counties and 25 practicing in urban underserved areas.