The National Health Service Corps (NHSC) is committed to improving the health of the nation’s underserved. Communities, health care facilities, health professionals, the Ohio Department of Health Primary Care Office and the NHSC work together to increase access to care in our state.
Practice sites in primary care, mental or dental Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs), and certain health professionals seeking to work in these areas, could be eligible to use the resources of the NHSC. The NHSC helps safety-net sites recruit and retain culturally competent health professionals by providing a web page for sites to post opportunities, a loan repayment program, and a scholarship program.
Loan Repayment and Scholarship Programs
Sites – Those meeting the criteria to become approved NHSC sites can post vacancies on the NHSC Web page, which is viewed by thousands of health professionals seeking opportunities in underserved areas. NHSC-approved sites are also eligible practice sites for clinicians seeking loan repayment. Those sites located in higher scoring HPSAs are eligible for NHSC scholars. Clinicians accepted for loan repayment and NHSC scholars commit to a minimum of two years of service at a practice site.
In addition to being located in a HPSA, sites must also:
- Use a sliding fee scale based on 200 percent of the federal poverty level.
- Accept Medicaid.
- Accept assignment from Medicare.
- Prominently advertise a statement expressing that no one will be denied services due to inability to pay.
- Provide culturally appropriate ambulatory services.
- Require NHSC clinicians to maintain either full-time or half-time clinical practice, depending on the NHSC clinician agreement.
- Complete the required steps to become a NHSC-approved site, including the online Site Application. Other requirements may also apply.
Health Professionals – The NHSC seeks clinicians that demonstrate the characteristics for, and interest in, serving the nation’s medically underserved populations and remaining in practice in HPSAs after the initial obligation. In exchange for financial assistance from the NHSC, clinicians commit to working at an approved practice site in a HPSA for a minimum of two years. Lists of qualifying disciplines and specialties are included in the program descriptions below. NHSC clinicians must work full time, which is 40 hours per week, unless approved for the half-time loan repayment option, which is a minimum of 20 hours per week.
Loan Repayment Program
The NHSC assists health professionals who have qualifying educational loans to be paid and are practicing or interested in practicing in an underserved area.
Health professionals eligible for the NHSC Loan Repayment Program include:
- Primary Care – Physicians (Family Practice, Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, Obstetrics/Gynecology), Nurse Practitioners, Physician Assistants, and Certified Nurse Midwives
- Mental Health – Psychiatrists, Health Service Psychologists, Licensed Clinical Social Workers, Psychiatric Nurse Specialists, Licensed Professional Counselors, and Marriage and Family Therapists
- Dental – General and Pediatric Dentists and Registered Dental Hygienists
Students may apply once enrolled or accepted for enrollment at an accredited health professions training program. Scholarships cover tuition, lab fees, books and other reasonable costs, and also include a monthly stipend. Upon graduation, the clinicians work in higher-scoring HPSAs for a minimum of two years or for a period of time equal to the number of years of financial assistance.
Health Professionals eligible for the NHSC Scholarship Program include:
- Primary Care - Physicians (Family Practice, Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, Obstetrics/Gynecology), Family Nurse Practitioners, Physician Assistants, and Certified Nurse Midwives
- Mental Health – Psychiatrists
- Dental – General and Pediatric Dentists
To read the most recent loan repayment or scholarship bulletins and obtain an application, visit http://nhsc.hrsa.gov/.