Since 1992, the Maryland Department of Health (MDH), via the Office of Workforce Development, has aided in building the supply of health care providers in Maryland’s underserved/resourced communities through its loan repayment programs. MDH utilizes Federal (State Loan Repayment Program, SLRP) and State (Maryland Loan Assistance Repayment Program, MLARP) funds to help program-eligible providers repay their higher education loans in exchange for the providers’ service in areas designated as underserved. Under the current HRSA-22-048 opportunity and based on available data and identified needs, MDH proposes expansion of the traditional eligibility criteria of the program during Federal Fiscal Years 2022 through 2025 (September 1, 2022 - August 31, 2026), offering loan repayment assistance to the following full-time and half-time priority disciplines: Physicians (MD, DO), Nurse Practitioners, Physician Assistants, Dentists (DDS, DMD), Health Service Psychologists, and Pharmacists. Eligible individuals must meet additional eligibility criteria such as practicing in primary care within a Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA). Shortages in each of these doctoral level disciplines are identified in available data, especially as Federally- designated primary, mental, and dental health care HPSAs are identified in most Maryland jurisdictions. Program expansion to these primary care disciplines will allow the Office to better expend available federal funds and leverage resources in current conversations regarding expansion and sustainable funding sources for the state-funded MLARP. On an annual basis, MDH solicits SLRP applications from health care providers and selects eligible loan repayment assistance participants through a technical scoring process that prioritizes State goals such as increasing opioid use disorder treatment and recovery, mental health, and obstetrics/ gynecology services. Each participant is contracted to serve in an
eligible practice site for a two year service obligation. MDH ensures participants continue to be in compliance with program guidelines throughout the service obligation period. As a recipient of Federal SLRP funds, MDH follows all State and Federal guidelines and requirements, and meets prescribed timelines. Federal dollars are consistently matched as allowable through State law. The Department anticipates contracting approximately 18 new and 18 second-year loan repayment participants each budget year. MDH will consistently track provider impact and retention to monitor the success of loan repayment efforts to improve healthcare access to underserved communities in Maryland throughout the project period.