The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) currently administers six state-funded loan repayment programs. The purpose of two state-funded loan repayment programs is to provide access to primary and mental health care to persons located in Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSA) and to provide services to recipients under Medicaid or Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Through the support of the State Loan Repayment Program, THECB can provide aid to eligible practice disciplines that are not currently covered by state-funded loan repayment programs, as well as enhance funding for participants in disciplines that are covered by state-funded loan repayment programs. The proposed project seeks to achieve the following goals: 1) provide loan repayment assistance to eligible primary care providers practicing in HPSAs to recruit and retain these professionals’ providing services in these areas 2) partner with federally qualified health centers (FQHCs), the State Office of Rural Health (SORH), the Texas Association of Community Health Centers (TACHC), Texas’ primary care office, Area Health Education Centers (AHECs), and other state, regional, and local stakeholders to provide assistance and coordination for recruitment and retention activities. In the current proposal, THECB detailed plans for efforts to expand access to primary care, including support of recruitment and retention activities, and the design of a strategic, long-term plan to reduce health provider shortages in the state of Texas. THECB proposes to continue its support and promotion of state and federal recruitment and retention incentives, while working with the Texas Primary Care Office, Federally Qualified Health Centers, non-profit health-care organizations, rural health clinics, and federal and state prisons to expand the reach of and participation in these programs. Finally, THECB will provide state agencies and council committees, colleges and universities,
health care providers and administrators, and individuals with data regarding the SLRP to support their efforts in designing and planning for the implementation of a strategic long-term plan aimed at reducing health provider shortages in Texas; thus, reducing the number of shortage area designations and improving Texans’ access to primary care services. THECB will support and promote activities that improve access to comprehensive quality health care services in HPSAs.