Code Section Group

Health and Safety Code - HSC

DIVISION 107. STATEWIDE HEALTH PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT [127000 - 130070]

  ( Division 107 added by Stats. 1995, Ch. 415, Sec. 9. )

PART 3. HEALTH PROFESSIONS DEVELOPMENT [127750 - 128585]

  ( Part 3 added by Stats. 1995, Ch. 415, Sec. 9. )

CHAPTER 4. Health Care Workforce Training Programs [128200 - 128290]

  ( Heading of Chapter 4 amended (as added by Stats. 1996, Ch. 1023) by Stats. 2006, Ch. 259, Sec. 5. )

ARTICLE 2. Health Education and Academic Loan Act [128250 - 128290]
  ( Article 2 added by Stats. 1996, Ch. 1023, Sec. 360. )

128250.
  

This article shall be known and may be cited as the Health Education and Academic Loan Act.

(Added by Stats. 1996, Ch. 1023, Sec. 360. Effective September 29, 1996. Section conditionally operative as prescribed in Section 128290.)

128255.
  

The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:

(a) Lower levels of reimbursement in rural and inner-city areas for certain critical primary care practices combined with increasing student costs deter medical students from entering the primary care specialties.

(b) Physicians typically begin their practices heavily in debt from student loans acquired to finance their education.

(c) Because of the lower levels of reimbursement and the burden of educational debts, the number of primary care physicians who choose to practice in California is insufficient to adequately meet the health needs of the state’s population.

(d) Repayment of student loans for medical students as a means to encourage increased provision of primary care medical services will benefit all citizens of California.

(Added by Stats. 1996, Ch. 1023, Sec. 360. Effective September 29, 1996. Section conditionally operative as prescribed in Section 128290.)

128260.
  

As used in this article, unless the context otherwise requires, the following definitions shall apply:

(a) “Commission” means the California Healthcare Workforce Policy Commission.

(b) “Director” means the Director of Statewide Health Planning and Development.

(c) “Medically underserved designated shortage area” means any of the following:

(1) An area designated by the commission as a critical health workforce shortage area.

(2) A medically underserved area, as designated by the United States Department of Health and Human Services.

(3) A critical workforce shortage area, as defined by the United States Department of Health and Human Services.

(d) “Primary care physician” means a physician who has the responsibility for providing initial and primary care to patients, for maintaining the continuity of patient care, and for initiating referral for care by other specialists. A primary care physician shall be a board-certified or board-eligible general internist, general pediatrician, general obstetrician-gynecologist, or family physician.

(Amended by Stats. 2006, Ch. 259, Sec. 8. Effective January 1, 2007. Section conditionally operative as prescribed in Section 128290.)

128265.
  

(a) The commission may provide assistance for the repayment of any student loan for medical education received by a medical student in an institution of higher education in California. The director, with the advice and upon the recommendation of the commission, shall make loan assumption payments using the criteria developed pursuant to this section and Sections 128270 and 128275 any other criteria developed by the commission that are consistent with this section and Sections 128270 and 128275. The commission may not provide loan assumption assistance for a loan that is in default at the time of the application.

(b) The Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development, in consultation with the commission, may adopt, by regulation, rules and procedures necessary to administer the loan assumption program established pursuant to this section and Sections 128270 and 128275.

(Added by Stats. 1996, Ch. 1023, Sec. 360. Effective September 29, 1996. Section conditionally operative as prescribed in Section 128290.)

128270.
  

To be eligible for loan assumption assistance, an applicant shall meet both of the following requirements:

(a) Be enrolled as a full-time student in an accredited California medical school and be a resident of California at the time of the application.

(b) Enter a primary care residency training program in California and provide primary care medical services for a minimum of three years after completion of residency.

(Added by Stats. 1996, Ch. 1023, Sec. 360. Effective September 29, 1996. Section conditionally operative as prescribed in Section 128290.)

128275.
  

(a) Each recipient of loan assumption assistance shall enter into a written contract with the commission, which shall be considered a contract with the State of California. In executing contracts, the commission shall give priority to those applicants who agree to provide primary care services for a minimum of three years in a medically underserved designated shortage area.

(b) The contract shall include all of the following terms and conditions:

(1) An unlicensed applicant shall apply for a license to practice medicine in California at the earliest practicable opportunity.

(2) Within six months after licensure and the completion of all requirements for the primary care specialty, the applicant shall engage in the practice of primary care medicine.

(3) The recipient shall agree to provide three consecutive years of service as a primary care physician in a medically underserved designated shortage area, or five consecutive years of service in an area not designated by the commission or the United States Department of Health and Human Services as a medically underserved area in order to receive loan assumption assistance made on his or her behalf directly to the lending institution. Loan assumption assistance shall be provided only for the principal amount of the recipient’s loan. If any recipient takes pregnancy or paternity leave or suffers temporary disability, the recipient shall perform an amount of service equal to the amount of service lost because of the pregnancy or paternity leave or temporary disability. Performance of that service by the recipient shall commence immediately upon his or her return to work following the leave or disability. Under a three-year term of service, 20 percent of the total grant shall be provided on behalf of the recipient upon completion of the first year of service; 30 percent shall be provided on behalf of the recipient upon completion of the second year of service; and 50 percent shall be provided to the recipient or to the lending institution on behalf of the recipient upon completion of three years of service as a primary care physician if the recipient received medical student loan deferment. If a recipient agrees to provide five years of service pursuant to this paragraph, 20 percent of the total grant shall be provided on behalf of the recipient upon completion of the first year of service; 10 percent shall be provided upon completion of the second year of service; 10 percent shall be provided upon completion of the third year of service; 10 percent shall be provided upon completion of the fourth year of service; and 50 percent shall be provided to the recipient or to the lending institution on behalf of the recipient upon completion of five years of service as a primary care physician if the recipient received medical student loan deferment.

(4) The physician shall treat patients in the area who are eligible for medicaid, Medicare, Medi-Cal, and county reimbursement for low-income and medically indigent adults in addition to fee-for-service patients and shall develop a sliding fee scale for low-income patients.

(5) Those applicants who agree to practice in underserved areas shall practice full time in the medically underserved designated shortage area.

(6) The physician shall permit the commission to monitor his or her practice to determine compliance with the terms of the contract.

(7) The commission shall certify compliance with the terms of the contract for purposes of receipt by the physician of the loan assumption assistance for years subsequent to the initial year of loan assumption assistance.

(8) If the recipient dies or becomes totally or permanently disabled, the commission shall nullify the service obligation of the recipient and the commission shall repay the student loan in full.

(9) If the recipient is convicted of a felony or misdemeanor involving moral turpitude, commits an act of gross negligence in the performance of service obligations, or his or her license to practice is revoked or suspended by the appropriate licensing board, the commission may demand repayment of any funds expended as loan assumption assistance on behalf of the physician.

(10) Any recipient of loan assumption assistance who fails to fulfill the obligations for which he or she contracted shall pay to the commission the full amount received plus interest from the date of the original contract at the rate of 2 percent above the prime rate at the time of the breach. The director may recover all costs and attorney fees incurred as a result of collecting payments resulting from the breach.

(11) The loan assumption program provided by this section shall apply only to government loans, or those loans insured or made available by federal or state government.

(12) Not more than 10 percent of the funds obtained from alternative sources, as specified in Section 128290, may be used to cover the administrative costs incurred by the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development to implement the loan assumption program.

(Added by Stats. 1996, Ch. 1023, Sec. 360. Effective September 29, 1996. Section conditionally operative as prescribed in Section 128290.)

128280.
  

Each publicly funded medical school in California shall inform incoming medical students of all student loan, loan repayment, and medical student scholarship programs available to them. This information shall include, but need not be limited to, information concerning the National Health Service Corps program, the Health Professions Education Foundation Program, and the Loan Assumption Program created pursuant to this article.

(Amended by Stats. 1999, Ch. 149, Sec. 3. Effective July 22, 1999. Section conditionally operative as prescribed in Section 128290.)

128285.
  

No requirement contained in this article shall apply to the University of California unless the Regents of the University of California, by resolution, make that requirement applicable.

(Added by Stats. 1996, Ch. 1023, Sec. 360. Effective September 29, 1996. Section conditionally operative as prescribed in Section 128290.)

128290.
  

(a) This article shall only be implemented if private funds are made available from private sources for all program and administrative costs related to the implementation of this article.

(b) No state funds shall be used to implement this article.

(c) This article shall become operative only upon certification by the Director of the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development that sufficient private funds have been made available from private sources to implement this article.

(Added by Stats. 1996, Ch. 1023, Sec. 360. Effective September 29, 1996. Note: This section provides for conditional operation of Article 2, commencing with Section 128250.)

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