Senate Bill No. 394
(By Senators Laird, Stollings, Plymale, Wells, Beach, Chafin, Tucker, Boley, Carmichael and Jenkins)
[Introduced January 21, 2014; referred to the Committee on Education; and then to the Committee on Finance.]
A BILL to amend and reenact §18C-3-3 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, relating to establishing the Health Sciences Service Program; continuing special revolving fund account and designating new name of fund; modifying fund expenditure provisions; modifying certain defined term; and expanding and modifying program eligibility.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That §18C-3-3 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended and reenacted to read as follows:
ARTICLE 3. HEALTH PROFESSIONALS STUDENT LOAN PROGRAMS.
§18C-3-3. Health Sciences Service Program; establishment; administration; eligibility.
(a) Legislative findings. -- The Legislature finds that there is a critical need for additional practicing health care professionals in West Virginia. Therefore, there is hereby created a health sciences scholarship program Health Sciences Service Program to be administered by the Vice Chancellor for Health Sciences. The purpose of this program is to provide an incentive for health professional students to complete their training and provide primary care in underserved areas of West Virginia.
(b) Establishment of Special account. –– There is hereby established continued a special revolving fund account under the Higher Education Policy Commission in the State Treasury to be formerly known as the Health Sciences Scholarship Fund that and hereafter designated the Health Sciences Service Program Fund. The fund shall be used to carry out accomplish the purposes of this section. The fund shall consist of one or more consists of any of the following:
(1) All unexpended health sciences scholarship funds on deposit in the State Treasury on the effective date of this section;
(2) Appropriations as may be provided by the Legislature;
(3) Repayments, including interest as set by the Vice Chancellor for Health Sciences, collected from scholarship program award recipients who fail to practice or teach in West Virginia under the terms of the scholarship agreement as set forth under this section; or an award agreement or the health sciences scholarship program previously established by this section; and
(4) Amounts that may become available from other sources.
Balances remaining in the fund at the end of the fiscal year shall do not expire or revert to the general revenue. All costs associated with the administration of this section shall be paid from the Health Sciences Scholarship Service Program Fund under the direction of the Vice Chancellor for Health Sciences.
(c) Eligibility requirements. -- Award preference is given to West Virginia residents. An individual is eligible for consideration for a health sciences scholarship Health Sciences Service Program award if the individual:
(A) Is a fourth-year medical student at the Marshall University School of Medicine, West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine or West Virginia University School of Medicine who has been accepted in a primary care internship/residency program in West Virginia; or
(B) Is enrolled or accepted for enrollment in an approved education program at a West Virginia institution leading to a degree or certification in the field of nurse practitioner, nurse educator, nurse midwife, physician assistant, dentist, pharmacist, physical therapist, doctoral clinical psychologist, licensed independent clinical social worker or other disciplines identified as shortage fields by the Vice Chancellor for Health Sciences; and
(2) Signs an agreement to practice for at least two years in an underserved area of West Virginia as determined by the bureau for public health. An individual also is eligible for consideration for a health sciences scholarship if the individual is or, if pursuing a Master’s Degree in nursing, and signs an agreement to teach at least two years for a school of nursing located in West Virginia, as may be determined by the Vice Chancellor for Health Sciences, after receiving her or his the master’s degree. Awarding preference will be given to West Virginia residents.
(d) Scholarship awards Program awards. -- Scholarships Program awards shall be in the amount of an amount set by the Higher Education Policy Commission of at least $20,000 for medical and dental students and at least $10,000 for all others and may be awarded by the Vice Chancellor for Health Sciences, with the advice of an advisory panel, from the pool of all applicants with a commitment to practice in an underserved area of West Virginia. as determined by the bureau for public health. Nothing herein shall be construed as granting or guaranteeing This section does not grant or guarantee any applicant any right to such a scholarship a program award.
(e) Repayment provisions. -- A scholarship program award recipient who fails to practice in an underserved area of West Virginia within six months of the completion of his or her training, or who fails to complete his or her training or who fails to complete the required teaching, is in breach of contract and is liable for repayment of the total scholarship amount received plus interest program award and any accrued interest. The granting or renewal of a license to practice in West Virginia or to reciprocal licensure in another state based upon licensure in West Virginia shall be is contingent upon beginning payment and continuing payment until complete repayment of the total scholarship amount if the recipient fails to practice in an underserved area. No award and any accrued interest. A license, renewal or reciprocity shall may not be granted to persons whose repayments are any person whose repayment is in arrears. The appropriate regulatory board shall inform all other states where a recipient has reciprocated based upon West Virginia licensure of any refusal to renew licensure in West Virginia as a result of failure to repay the scholarship amount award. This provision shall be explained in bold type in the scholarship award contract. Repayment terms, not inconsistent with this section, shall be established by the Vice Chancellor for Health Sciences pursuant to rules as required under subsection (f) of the rule required by this section.
(f) Promulgation of rules Rule. -- The Higher Education Policy Commission shall promulgate rules a rule pursuant to article three-a, chapter twenty nine-a of this code necessary for the implementation and administration of to implement and administer this section.
(g) Definitions. -- For purposes of the repayment provisions of As used in this section: the term
(1) “Training” means:
(A) The entire degree program or certification program for nurse midwives, nurse practitioners, nurse educators, physician assistants, dentists, pharmacists, physical therapists, doctoral clinical psychologists, licensed independent clinical social workers and other disciplines identified as shortage field fields by the Vice Chancellor The term also means the for Health Sciences; or
(B) Completion of a degree program and includes completion of an approved residency/internship program for students pursuing a degree in medicine or a degree in osteopathy, or as otherwise may be designated for such students in the rule required by this section.
(2) “Underserved area” means any primary care health professional shortage area located in the state as determined by the Bureau for Public Health or any additional health professional shortage area determined by the Vice Chancellor for Health Sciences.
(NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to modify the Health Sciences Scholarship Program to become the Health Sciences Service Program to better reflect the purpose of the program as a job recruitment incentive for attracting practicing health care professionals to underserved areas of the state. The program is not a financial aid program, and there is no requirement that the funds be used for educational purposes, but rather the mission is to improve access to primary care in underserved areas of the state.
Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from present law, and underscoring indicates new language that would be added.)