Senate Bill No. 196
(By Senators Stollings, Laird, Miller, Palumbo, Prezioso, Wills, Yost, Jenkins and Foster)
[Introduced January 16, 2012; referred to the Committee on Education; and then to the Committee on Finance.]
A BILL to amend the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, by adding thereto a new section, designated §18C-3-1a, relating to providing a loan forgiveness program for dentists and hygienists.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended by adding thereto a new section, designated §18C-3-1a, to read as follows:
ARTICLE 3. HEALTH PROFESSIONALS STUDENT LOAN PROGRAMS.
§18C-3-1a. Dentist or hygienist education loan program; administration; eligibility and loan cancellation; required report.
(a) For the purposes of this section, Vice Chancellor of Administration means the person employed pursuant to section two, article four, chapter eighteen-b of this code.
(b) There is hereby created a Special Revolving Fund account under the commission in the State Treasury to be known as the Dentist and Hygienist Education Student Loan Fund which shall be used to carry out the purposes of this section. The fund consists of:
(1) Appropriations provided by the Legislature;
(2) Repayment of any loans made under this section;
(3) Amounts provided by Dentist, or Hygienist Associations, hospitals or other medical provider organizations in this state, or by political subdivisions of the state, under an agreement which requires the recipient to practice his or her dentist or hygienist profession in the political subdivision providing the funds, or otherwise in this state, for a predetermined period of time and that thirty percent of their practice be dedicated to persons who receive services under the state Medicaid program set forth in chapter nine of this code; and
(4) Other amounts available from external sources.
Balances remaining in the fund at the end of the fiscal year do not expire or revert. All costs associated with administering this section shall be paid from the Dentist and Hygienist Education Student Loan Fund.
(c) The Vice Chancellor for Administration may utilize any funds in the Health Education Student Loan Fund for the purposes of the dentists or hygienist student loan program. The commission shall determine and give priority for the loans to residents of this state. An individual is eligible for loan consideration upon:
(1) Demonstrating financial need;
(2) Meeting established academic standards;
(3) Is enrolled or accepted for enrollment in an accredited institution of higher education in this state in a program leading to the degree of dentist or hygienist;
(4) Not yet receiving one of the degrees provided in subdivision (3) of this subsection;
(5) Agrees to dedicate at least thirty percent of his or her practice to persons receiving services under the state Medicaid program; and
(6) Not defaulting on any previous student loan.
(d) At the end of each fiscal year, any individual who has received a dentist or hygienist student loan and rendered services as a dentist or hygienist in this state in a medically underserved area or in a dental or hygienist specialty in which there is a shortage of qualified dentists or dental hygienists as determined by the Division of Health at the time the loan was granted, may submit to the commission a notarized, sworn statement of service on a form provided for that purpose. Upon receipt of the statement the commission shall cancel $5,000 of the outstanding loan or loans for every full twelve consecutive calendar months of such service.
(e) No later than thirty days following the end of each fiscal year, the Vice Chancellor for Administration shall prepare and submit a report to the commission for inclusion in the statewide report card required under section eight, article one-b, chapter eighteen-b to be submitted to the Legislative Oversight Commission on Education Accountability established under section eleven, article three-a of chapter twenty-nine-a of this code. At a minimum, the report shall include the following information:
(1) The number of loans awarded in each specialty area;
(2) The total amount of the loans awarded;
(3) The amount of any unexpended moneys in the fund; and
(4) The rate of default during the previous fiscal year on the repayment of loans granted pursuant to this section.
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to provide a loan forgiveness program for dentists and hygienists similar to what currently exists for medical doctors and osteopathic physicians.
This section is new; therefore, strike-throughs and underscoring have been omitted.
This bill was recommended for passage during the 2012 Regular Session of the Legislature by the Joint Committee on Health