Posted: Wednesday, February 25, 2015 7:53 am | Updated: 8:45 am, Wed Feb 25, 2015.
By Howard Fischer, Capitol Media Services
PHOENIX — Gov. Doug Ducey signed legislation Tuesday designed to draw more doctors into the rural and “medically underserved” areas of Arizona.
SB 1194 sharply boosts the amount of money the state will repay of a medical student’s loan if they agree to go where the state says they are needed. The measure will take effect this summer.
Arizona already has a medical loan repayment program for both physicians and dentists. But the maximum repayment is $20,000 for the first two years, $22,000 for the third year and $25,000 for the fourth year.
But Kristen Boilini who lobbies for the Arizona Alliance for Community Health Centers, said that does not make much of a dent in student debt. She said the average medical school graduate starts practice with $170,000 in loans; for dental school grads the figure is $240,000.
The new law sponsored by Sen. Gail Griffin, R-Hereford, makes doctors who go where directed eligible for up to $65,000 for the first two years of service. Potentially more significant, they can get another $35,000 repaid for every year they remain after that, with the only cap being the total number of dollars they owe.
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