Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Louisiana State Loan Repayment Program?

Section 338 of the Public Health Service Act (42 USC 254-1) authorizes the Secretary of Health and Human Services, through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to administer the State Loan Repayment Program (SLRP), which is funded with 50% state dollars and 50% federal dollars. The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH) through the Bureau of Primary Care and Rural Health (BPCRH) administers the SLRP for Louisiana. The purpose of the SLRP is to recruit and retain primary care practitioners to difficult-to-fill shortage areas by reducing their educational debt. The mission of the program is to alleviate the State’s problem of a substantial maldistribution shortage of primary care health professionals in rural and inner city areas designated as health professional shortage areas (HPSAs).

What types of health practitioners are eligible to participate in the SLRP?

For the purpose of recruitment under this program, eligible primary care practitioners include Physicians (allopathic or osteopathic) who have completed a residency in family practice, general practice, obstetrics/gynecology, internal medicine, pediatrics, or general psychiatry and dentists (DDS or DMD general or pediatric). Other eligible health care professionals include primary care physician assistants, certified nurse practitioners, certified nurse midwives, registerd clinical dental hygeienists, licensed clinical or counseling psychologists (Ph.D. or equivalent required), psychiatric nurse specialists, licensed professional counselors (masters or Ph.D. required), marriage and family therapists (masters or Ph.D. required) and licensed clinical social workers (masters or Ph.D. required). The mission of the program is to alleviate and ultimately overcome the State's problem of a substantial lack of primary care health professionals.

What are the eligibility requirements for participating in the SLRP?

  • Must work in a federally-designated health professional shortage area;
  •  Must work for a public or non-profit private entity;
  • Must work full-time (40 hours per week) in an outpatient capacity and accept assignmens of Medicare and Medicaid;
  • Must offer a sliding-fee scale for low-income, uninsured patients;
  • Must be a United States citizen or national; 
  • Be licensed to practice in Louisiana;
  • Have no other obligation for health professional service;
  • Have not defaulted on educational loans without addressing the default; and
  • Have not breached a health professional services contract.

Applications will be accepted from May 1 through July 31st. Funding notifications will be made in August. Applying to the program does not guarantee that funding will awarded.

What are the payment arrangements for the SLRP program?

Present SLRP policy requires the SLRP contractors submit a quarterly service report form by mail or fax to the DHH BPCRH. The form documents the number of primary care encounters (face-to-face contacts), the total number of patients attended for each month, hours worked in outpatient care, and the total number of hours worked including inpatient and on-call. Submitting the quarterly service report after the 15th of the month it is due may delay the issuance of a participant’s check. A copy of the current quarterly service report can now be requested from Beth Buter via email at Beth.Butler@la.gov.

How long does it take DHH to process the SLRP contract?

Usually, the contract process is completed in 8-10 weeks, including approval by the Department of Administration’s (DOA’s) Office of Contractual Review.

Are loan repayment benefits taxable?

Yes, loan repayment benefits are taxable by the State of Louisiana.Each provider will be issued a Form 1099 each January. The federal income tax for these payments have been as of 2004

Can the funds from SLRP be used to repay any debts incurred while in school?

All loan repayment monies must be used to repay only approved qualifying educational loans.

Can part of my SLRP benefits be used to pay taxes incurred?

No more than 6% of loan repayment funds can be set aside to defray state income tax liability. Monies not paid for in taxes must all go to eligible loans.

What types of loans qualify for the Louisiana SLRP?

The program will repay governmental or commercial educational loans which were used for tuition expenses, other reasonable education expenses required by the health professional school including books, laboratory expenses and other fees, and reasonable living expenses as determined by published university standards. For more information, see the Louisiana State Loan Repayment Program Policy.

What are the obligations of the health care professional?

  • To serve a minimum of two (2) years or a maximum of three (3) years;
  • To provide primary health care services at an eligible site (public and/or non-profit) within the officially designated HPSA that is appropriate for the professional's discipline;
  • To agree to accept Medicare, Medicaid, LaChip (if appropriate), and those who are at or below 200% of the federal poverty guidelines and who are uninsured;
  • To display a sign that says the clinic will treat all patients, regardless of their ability to pay;
  • To provide DHH with a signed quarterly service report totaling the number of encounters rendered;
  • To submit to DHH a copy of loan balances every six (6) months on January 1st and July 1st of each year; and
  • To provide DHH with documentation of practice in a HPSA, or a copy of an employment contract with a public and/or nonprofit facility located in a HPSA.

How does SLRP define health care services?

For physicians, health care services are defined as:

  • Primary health care services rendered full-time in a public and/or non-profit private outpatient setting and defined as a minimum 40-hour work week, to be performed in no less than four days per week with no more than 12 hours of work to be performed in a 24-hour period. Time spent in an "on-call" status will not count toward the 40-hours per week.
  • Primary care physicians should provide approximately 4,200 primary care encounters per 12-month period beginning on the effective date of the contract. A primary health care encounter is a face-to-face encounter between the contracting physician and a patient, for the purpose of preventive care, diagnosis, and/or treatment. Exception: Obstetricians, gynecologists and psychiatrists should provide an average of 3,600 health care encounters, and dentists should provide an average of 2,000 health care encounters per 12-month period.
  • Contact with more than one health professional and/or multiple contacts with the same contracting physician that takes place on the same day constitutes a single encounter unless the patient, subsequent to the first visit, suffers illness or injury requiring additional diagnosis or treatment.
  • For alternative health care professionals, health care services are defined as: Outpatient care rendered full-time in a public and/or non-profit private facility.Full-time employment for alternative health care professionals is defined as a minimum 40-hour workweek to be performed in no less than four (4) days per week with no more than 12 hours of work to be performed in a 24-hour period.

How do health care providers apply for SLRP?

The SLRP requires a completed and signed application form. All applications must include the following:

  • A copy of a current employment contract;
  • A copy of a current professional license;
  • A copy of a Louisiana Medicaid Provider Identification Number, or a copy of the application for the number;
  • A signed "Agreement for all Participating SLRP Sites form";
  • A signed "Attestation of No Other Obligation Form";
  • A signed "Certificateion Regarding Environmental Tobacco Smoke form";
  • A signed "Consent for Release of Information Waiver of Confidentiality form";
  • A signed "Release from Liability form";
  • Documentation of employer's sliding-fee scale and copy of scale in use, along with the sliding-fee scale policy; 
  • Documentation of employer's sliding-fee scale pulbic notice signage;
  • IRS Form and W-9;
  • Electronic Funds Transfer form; and
  • A valid copy of the current education loan statement with remaining principle balance showing.

NOTE: For public employee(s), a letter of agreement with the governmental agency and verification of employment will be accepted in lieu of an employment contract.

NOTE: Applicants will be notified in July whether or not they will receive funding in the grant cycle beginning October 1.

NOTE: Two professionals per practice site will be approved per grant year. If more than two professionals per site apply, the facility will be contacted for additional information in the funding decision regarding the professionals from that site.

Does filing a completed application with SLRP guarantee the applicant will receive loan repayment benefits?

No. All SLRP contracts are contingent upon the availability of funds, the receipt of a copy of the contractor’s medical license, verification of employment, and verification that the place of employment accepts Medicaid, Medicare, free care or sliding-fee scale for indigent patients and is a public and/or non-profit facility. The contract is not binding until the Secretary or his designee has signed the SLRP contract and DHH Contract Review and DOA’s Office of Contractual Review have approved the contract.

What happens if the situation of a SLRP provider changes?

Should a participant fail to complete his/her service contract, he/she will be liable to the State of Louisiana for the amount that has been paid on their behalf under the program contract. The default amount is three (3) times the amount paid on behalf of the SLRP participant plus 18% interest on that amount multiplied by the proportion of months remaining on the obligation. See Attachment C of the SLRP contract or contact Beth Butler, SLRP program monitor, at (225) 342-4702 or via email at Beth.Butler@la.gov.

What documentation of student loans is required?

Applicants must provide lender information on their application forms and written verification of current balance of loan(s), including principal, interest, and loan fees.

What loans may be included in the determination of loan repayment eligibility?

All educational loans from government entities and commercial lenders may be included in the determination of loan repayment benefits.

May personal loans from family or others be included in the determination of loan repayment eligibility?

No. Only loans with supporting documentation and loans obtained from a govennnrnment entity or commercial lending institution for the purpose of obtaining an education qualify for repayment by the SLRP.

Is consolidation of loans necessary to receive SLRP?

No, but consolidation is allowable if only educational loans were included in the consolidation. SLRP participants must consolidate all qualifying loans in order to receive repayment by the program. SLRP participants may consolidate all qualifying loans in order to receive repayment by the program.For specific questions, contact Beth Butler at (225) 342-4702 or via email at Beth.Butler@la.gov.

What happens if participant doesn’t complete his/her service commitment?

Should a participant fail to complete his/her service contract, he/she will be liable to the State of Louisiana for the amount that has been paid on their behalf under the program contract. The default amount is three (3) times the amount paid on behalf of the SLRP participant plus 18% interest on that amount, multiplied by the proportion of months remaining on the obligation. See Attachment C of the SLRP Contract or contact the Paula Villar Kramer, Program Coordinator, at 225-342-4702 or pkramer@dhh.la.gov

Are there any situations where the participant does not have to repay if unable to complete the service obligation?

Waivers on SLRP obligations may be granted by the Secretary of DHH in the event of death, or physical or mental disability resulting in the permanent inability of the participant to perform the service, bankruptcy, or at the request of the placement agency for a justifiable cause. Suspensions of the SLRP contract obligations may be made for up to six (6) months to one year in the event of temporary physical or mental disability or for other justifiable causes.