Senate Bill No. 325
(By Senators Stollings, Jenkins, Kirkendoll, Laird, Miller,
Palumbo, Plymale, Prezioso, Tucker, Yost, Boley, M. Hall, Unger,
Fitzsimmons, Beach, Carmichael and Nohe)
[Introduced February 20, 2013; 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 article, designated §16-45-1, §16-45-2,
§16-45-3, §16-45-4, §16-45-5 and §16-45-6, all relating to
creating a loan forgiveness program for health professionals.
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 article, designated §16-45-1, §16-45-2,
§16-45-3, §16-45-4, §16-45-5 and §16-45-6, all to read as follows:
ARTICLE 45. HEALTH PROFESSIONAL EDUCATION LOAN FORGIVENESS
For purposes of this section, the following definitions apply:
"Advanced nurse practitioner" means a person who is licensed to practice as an advanced practice nurse.
"Bureau" means the Bureau for Public Health.
"Commissioner" means the Commissioner of the Bureau for Public
"Dentist" means a person who is licensed to practice as a
"Dental hygienist" means a person who is licensed to practice
as a dental hygienist.
"Emergency circumstances" means those conditions that make it
impossible for the participant to fulfill the service commitment
including death, total and permanent disability or temporary
disability lasting more than two years.
"Medical resident" means a person participating in a medical
"Nurse" means a person who is licensed to practice as a
licensed practical nurse or registered nurse.
"Nurse-midwife" means a person who is licensed to practice as
"Pharmacist" means a person who is licensed to practice as a
"Physician" means a person who is licensed to practice
"Physician assistant" means a person licensed as a physician assistant.
"Qualified educational loan" means a government, commercial or
foundation loan for actual costs paid for tuition, reasonable
education expenses and reasonable living expenses related to the
graduate or undergraduate education of a health care professional.
§16-45-2. Health Professional Education Loan Forgiveness.
(a) There is created a Special Revolving Fund account under
the Bureau for Public Health in the State Treasury to be known as
the Health Professional Education Loan Forgiveness Fund which shall
be used to carry out the purposes of this section. The fund
(1) Appropriations provided by the Legislature;
(2) Repayment of loans made under this section;
(3) Amounts provided by 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 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
(4) Other amounts available from external sources.
(b) 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 Health
Professional Education Loan Forgiveness Fund.
(a) To be eligible to participate in the loan forgiveness
program, a person must:
(1) Be a medical resident or be enrolled in a dentist, dental
hygienist, pharmacist, advanced nurse practitioner, nurse-midwife,
nurse anesthetist, advanced clinical nurse specialist, registered
nurse or a licensed practical nurse training program; and
(2) Agree to work in a designated rural area or for a state
mental health facility.
(b) An applicant selected to participate shall sign a contract
to agree to serve a minimum three-year, full-time service
§16-45-4. Loan forgiveness.
(a) The Commissioner of Public Health may select applicants
each year for participation in the loan forgiveness program within
the limits of available funding. The commissioner shall distribute
available funds for loan forgiveness proportionally among the
eligible professions according to the vacancy rate for each
profession in the required geographic area, facility type, teaching
area, patient group or specialty type.
(b) The participant shall provide the commissioner with
verification that the full amount of loan repayment disbursement
received by the participant has been applied toward the designated
loans. After each disbursement, verification must be received by
the commissioner and approved before the next loan repayment
disbursement is made. Participants who move their practice remain
eligible for loan repayment as long as they practice as required
under section three of this article.
§16-45-5. Penalty for nonfulfillment.
If a participant does not fulfill the required minimum
commitment of service, the commissioner shall collect from the
participant the total amount paid to the participant under the loan
forgiveness program plus interest. The commissioner shall deposit
the money collected in the Health Care Access Fund to be credited
to the Health Professional Education Loan Forgiveness program
account. The commissioner shall allow waivers of all or part of the
money owed the commissioner as a result of a nonfulfillment penalty
if emergency circumstances prevented fulfillment of the minimum
No later than thirty days following the end of each fiscal
year, the commissioner shall prepare and submit a report to the
Governor and the Joint Committee on Health. At a minimum, the report shall include the following information:
(1) The number of loans awarded in each 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
create a loan
forgiveness program for health professionals
This article is new; therefore, strike-throughs and
underscoring have been omitted.
This bill has been recommended for passage during the 2013
Regular Session by the Joint Committee on Health.