American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

Model Bill: Allied Health Care Provider Loan Forgiveness/Tuition Reimbursement Program

Introduction

The following is model statutory language to establish a state loan forgiveness or tuition reimbursement program for allied health professionals including speech-language pathologists and audiologists. Typically, these types of incentive provisions are created to address critical shortages in various health care fields in the state and to maximize the availability of quality healthcare. The actual professions included in the statute will vary from state-to-state based upon specific deficits in critical personnel. To date, there are no state stand-alone programs for speech-language pathologists or audiologists in health care settings; typically, they are included under a more general provision for allied health professionals. The following model was based upon recently enacted Wyoming S.B. 47 (2006) as well as proposed 2006 legislation in Hawaii (S.B. 2618).

Please note that statutes may vary considerably from state-to-state in the format and detail required. This model may need to be modified significantly to meet individual state practices.

The State Department of Health is authorized to enter into agreements with allied health care providers licensed or certified to provide health care services in this state, including, but not limited to, audiology, speech-language pathology, [nursing, pharmacology, psychology, social work and dental hygiene] depending upon the current critical personnel needs in the state. The agreements shall:

  1. Provide that the health care provider shall be repaid 100% of the amount of outstanding educational loans the provider has acquired as a result of educational training directly related to providing allied health services, not to exceed $[X] per year, in exchange for providing allied health care services in this state for each year such funds are accepted.
  2. The Department of Health, in consultation with appropriate licensing board and state professional association, shall promulgate rules necessary to carry out the purposes of this section including provisions on minimum qualifications, approved curriculum, amount of reimbursement per year, criteria to fulfill applicants' obligations to the state and circumstances that would warrant revocation of reimbursement.
  3. In selecting allied health care providers for agreements pursuant to this section, the department shall give priority when practical to qualified graduates of the state university system.
  4. The tuition reimbursement granted under this section shall not be granted to an applicant who has benefited from another educational loan forgiveness program of the state.

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