If you follow MAFP advocacy efforts you are likely aware of the primary care loan repayment legislation MAFP has been championing for nearly two years. We are thrilled to share the bills, SB 648 & SB 649, passed the legislature in May and were signed by the Governor on June 17!
These bills make important reforms to the Michigan state loan repayment program. The program, which also saw its funding increase in the state budget this year, provides loan forgiveness for physicians and allied health professionals who agree to practice in an underserved area for a specified period of time.
SB 648 and 649 would, among other things, allow for an increase in the amount of loan forgiveness a primary care physician, and other qualified providers could receive; would repeal the four-year cap under which a recipient would be able to receive loan forgiveness, allowing them to practice in designated shortage areas for longer periods of time as well as prioritize certain high-demand primary care provider groups – like family physicians.
At the very least, the bills bring important issues and challenges, such as distribution of the physician workforce, to the forefront of the policy dialogue encouraging meaningful debate around solutions that can help drive a more equitable, primary care-based health care system in Michigan.
Read more about the bills in the summer issue of the new Michigan Family Physician, the official magazine of the MAFP!