144.1501 HEALTH PROFESSIONAL EDUCATION LOAN FORGIVENESS PROGRAM.
Subdivision 1. Definitions.
(a) For purposes of this section, the following definitions apply.
(b) "Dentist" means an individual who is licensed to practice dentistry.
(c) "Designated rural area" means:
(1) an area in Minnesota outside the counties of Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey,
Scott, and Washington, excluding the cities of Duluth, Mankato, Moorhead, Rochester, and St.
(2) a municipal corporation, as defined under section
, that is physically located, in
whole or in part, in an area defined as a designated rural area under clause (1).
(d) "Emergency circumstances" means those conditions that make it impossible for the
participant to fulfill the service commitment, including death, total and permanent disability, or
temporary disability lasting more than two years.
(e) "Medical resident" means an individual participating in a medical residency in family
practice, internal medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics, or psychiatry.
(f) "Midlevel practitioner" means a nurse practitioner, nurse-midwife, nurse anesthetist,
advanced clinical nurse specialist, or physician assistant.
(g) "Nurse" means an individual who has completed training and received all licensing or
certification necessary to perform duties as a licensed practical nurse or registered nurse.
(h) "Nurse-midwife" means a registered nurse who has graduated from a program of study
designed to prepare registered nurses for advanced practice as nurse-midwives.
(i) "Nurse practitioner" means a registered nurse who has graduated from a program of study
designed to prepare registered nurses for advanced practice as nurse practitioners.
(j) "Pharmacist" means an individual with a valid license issued under chapter 151.
(k) "Physician" means an individual who is licensed to practice medicine in the areas of
family practice, internal medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics, or psychiatry.
(l) "Physician assistant" means a person registered under chapter 147A.
(m) "Qualified educational loan" means a government, commercial, or foundation loan for
actual costs paid for tuition, reasonable education expenses, and reasonable living expenses
related to the graduate or undergraduate education of a health care professional.
(n) "Underserved urban community" means a Minnesota urban area or population included
in the list of designated primary medical care health professional shortage areas (HPSAs),
medically underserved areas (MUAs), or medically underserved populations (MUPs) maintained
and updated by the United States Department of Health and Human Services.
Subd. 2. Creation of account.
(a) A health professional education loan forgiveness program
account is established. The commissioner of health shall use money from the account to establish
a loan forgiveness program:
(1) for medical residents agreeing to practice in designated rural areas or underserved urban
communities or specializing in the area of pediatric psychiatry;
(2) for midlevel practitioners agreeing to practice in designated rural areas or to teach for at
least 20 hours per week in the nursing field in a postsecondary program;
(3) for nurses who agree to practice in a Minnesota nursing home or intermediate care
facility for persons with developmental disability or to teach for at least 20 hours per week in
the nursing field in a postsecondary program;
(4) for other health care technicians agreeing to teach for at least 20 hours per week in
their designated field in a postsecondary program. The commissioner, in consultation with the
Healthcare Education-Industry Partnership, shall determine the health care fields where the need
is the greatest, including, but not limited to, respiratory therapy, clinical laboratory technology,
radiologic technology, and surgical technology;
(5) for pharmacists who agree to practice in designated rural areas; and
(6) for dentists agreeing to deliver at least 25 percent of the dentist's yearly patient encounters
to state public program enrollees or patients receiving sliding fee schedule discounts through a
formal sliding fee schedule meeting the standards established by the United States Department of
Health and Human Services under Code of Federal Regulations, title 42, section 51, chapter 303.
(b) Appropriations made to the account do not cancel and are available until expended,
except that at the end of each biennium, any remaining balance in the account that is not
committed by contract and not needed to fulfill existing commitments shall cancel to the fund.
Subd. 3. Eligibility.
(a) To be eligible to participate in the loan forgiveness program, an
(1) be a medical or dental resident, a licensed pharmacist or be enrolled in a dentist, midlevel
practitioner, registered nurse, or a licensed practical nurse training program; and
(2) submit an application to the commissioner of health. If fewer applications are submitted
by dental students or residents than there are dentist participant slots available, the commissioner
may consider applications submitted by dental program graduates who are licensed dentists.
(b) An applicant selected to participate must sign a contract to agree to serve a minimum
three-year full-time service obligation according to subdivision 2, which shall begin no later than
March 31 following completion of required training.
Subd. 4. Loan forgiveness.
The commissioner of health may select applicants each year
for participation in the loan forgiveness program, within the limits of available funding. The
commissioner shall distribute available funds for loan forgiveness proportionally among the
eligible professions according to the vacancy rate for each profession in the required geographic
area, facility type, teaching area, patient group, or specialty type specified in subdivision 2. The
commissioner shall allocate funds for physician loan forgiveness so that 75 percent of the funds
available are used for rural physician loan forgiveness and 25 percent of the funds available
are used for underserved urban communities and pediatric psychiatry loan forgiveness. If the
commissioner does not receive enough qualified applicants each year to use the entire allocation
of funds for any eligible profession, the remaining funds may be allocated proportionally
among the other eligible professions according to the vacancy rate for each profession in the
required geographic area, patient group, or facility type specified in subdivision 2. Applicants
are responsible for securing their own qualified educational loans. The commissioner shall select
participants based on their suitability for practice serving the required geographic area or facility
type specified in subdivision 2, as indicated by experience or training. The commissioner shall
give preference to applicants closest to completing their training. For each year that a participant
meets the service obligation required under subdivision 3, up to a maximum of four years, the
commissioner shall make annual disbursements directly to the participant equivalent to 15 percent
of the average educational debt for indebted graduates in their profession in the year closest to
the applicant's selection for which information is available, not to exceed the balance of the
participant's qualifying educational loans. Before receiving loan repayment disbursements and as
requested, the participant must complete and return to the commissioner an affidavit of practice
form provided by the commissioner verifying that the participant is practicing as required under
subdivisions 2 and 3. The participant must provide the commissioner with verification that the full
amount of loan repayment disbursement received by the participant has been applied toward the
designated loans. After each disbursement, verification must be received by the commissioner
and approved before the next loan repayment disbursement is made. Participants who move
their practice remain eligible for loan repayment as long as they practice as required under
Subd. 5. Penalty for nonfulfillment.
If a participant does not fulfill the required minimum
commitment of service according to subdivision 3, the commissioner of health shall collect from
the participant the total amount paid to the participant under the loan forgiveness program plus
interest at a rate established according to section
. The commissioner shall deposit the
money collected in the health care access fund to be credited to the health professional education
loan forgiveness program account established in subdivision 2. The commissioner shall allow
waivers of all or part of the money owed the commissioner as a result of a nonfulfillment penalty
if emergency circumstances prevented fulfillment of the minimum service commitment.
Subd. 6. Rules.
The commissioner may adopt rules to implement this section.
History: 1Sp2003 c 14 art 7 s 33; 2005 c 56 s 1; 2005 c 151 art 2 s 17; 1Sp2005 c 4 art
6 s 13-16