(b) There is continued a special revolving fund account administered by the commission in the state treasury to be known as the Health Education Student Loan Fund which shall be used to carry out the purposes of this section. The fund consists of the following:
(1) All funds on deposit in the medical student loan fund in the state treasury or which are due or become due for deposit in the fund as obligations made under the previous enactment of this section;
(2) Those funds provided for medical education pursuant to the provisions of section four, article ten, chapter eighteen-b of this code;
(3) Appropriations provided by the Legislature;
(4) Repayment of any loans made under this section;
(5) Amounts provided by medical 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 health profession in this state or in the political subdivision providing the funds for a predetermined period of time and in such capacity as set forth in the agreement; and
(6) Other amounts which may be available from external sources.
(c) 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 Education Student Loan Fund.
(d) The Vice Chancellor for Administration may utilize any funds in the Health Education Student Loan Fund for the purposes of the Medical Student Loan Program. The commission shall give priority for the loans to residents of this state, as defined by the commission. An individual is eligible for loan consideration if the individual meets the following conditions:
(1) Demonstrates financial need;
(2) Meets established academic standards;
(3) Is enrolled or accepted for enrollment at the West Virginia University School of Medicine, the Marshall University School of Medicine, or the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine in a program leading to the degree of medical doctor (M.D.) or doctor of osteopathy (D.O.);
(4) Has not yet received one of the degrees provided in subdivision (3) of this subsection; and
(5) Is not in default of any previous student loan.
(e) At the end of each fiscal year, any individual who has received a medical student loan and who has rendered services as a medical doctor or a doctor of osteopathy in this state in a medically underserved area or in a medical specialty in which there is a shortage of physicians, 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 ten thousand dollars of the outstanding loan or loans for every full twelve consecutive calendar months of such service.
(f) 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-d, chapter eighteen-b of this code to be submitted to the Legislative Oversight Commission on Education Accountability established under section eleven, article three-a, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code. At a minimum, the report shall include the following information:
(1) The number of loans awarded;
(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 previously awarded loans.
The board of trustees shall each year send to any such institution a certified list of all persons applying to the trustees for training in optometry who are bona fide citizens and residents of this state prior to the filing of their applications, and who have completed either within or without the state the course of study required by the institution as a prerequisite to the study of optometry.
(a) Legislative findings. -- The Legislature finds that there is a critical need for additional practicing health care professionals in West Virginia. Therefore, there is created a 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) Special account. -- There is continued a special revolving fund account under the Higher Education Policy Commission in the State Treasury formerly known as the Health Sciences Scholarship Fund and hereafter designated the Health Sciences Service Program Fund. The fund shall be used to accomplish the purposes of this section. The fund 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 program award recipients who fail to practice or teach in West Virginia under the terms of 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 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 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 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 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 or, if pursuing a Master's Degree in nursing, 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 the master's degree.
(d) Program awards. -- Program awards shall be in 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. This section does not grant or guarantee any applicant any right to a program award.
(e) Repayment provisions. -- A 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 required teaching, is in breach of contract and is liable for repayment of the 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 is contingent upon beginning payment and continuing payment until complete repayment of the award and any accrued interest. A license, renewal or reciprocity may not be granted to 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 award. This provision shall be explained in bold type in the award contract. Repayment terms, not inconsistent with this section, shall be established by the Vice Chancellor for Health Sciences pursuant to the rule required by this section.
(f) Rule. -- The Higher Education Policy Commission shall promulgate a rule pursuant to article three-a, chapter twenty nine-a of this code to implement and administer this section.
(g) Definitions. -- As used in this section:
(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 fields by the Vice Chancellor for Health Sciences; or
(B) Completion of a degree program and an approved residency/internship program for students pursuing a degree in medicine or 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.
(a) There is continued in the State Treasury a special revenue account known as the "Center for Nursing Fund" to be administered by the commission to implement the provisions of this section and article seven-b, chapter thirty of this code. Any moneys in the account on the effective date of this section are transferred to the commission's administrative authority. Balances remaining in the fund at the end of the fiscal year do not expire or revert to the general revenue. All costs associated with the administration of this section and article seven-b, chapter thirty of this code shall be paid from the Center for Nursing Fund under the direction of the Vice Chancellor for Administration. Administrative costs are to be minimized and the maximum amount feasible is to be used to fund awards for students in nursing programs.
(b) The account is funded from the following sources:
(1) A supplemental licensure fee, not to exceed $10 per year, to be paid by all nurses licensed by the Board of Examiners for Registered Professional Nurses, pursuant to section eight-a, article seven, chapter thirty of this code, and the Board of Examiners for Licensed Practical Nurses, pursuant to section seven-a, article seven-a, chapter thirty of this code;
(2) Repayments, including interest as set by the Vice Chancellor for Administration, collected from recipients who fail to practice or teach in West Virginia under the terms of the scholarship agreement; and
(3) Any other funds from any source as may be added to the account.
(c) In consultation with the board of directors of the West Virginia Center for Nursing, established pursuant to article seven-b, chapter thirty of this code, the commission shall administer a scholarship, designated the "Nursing Scholarship Program", designed to benefit nurses who practice in hospitals and other health care institutions or teach in state nursing programs.
(1) Awards are available for students enrolled in accredited nursing programs in West Virginia. A recipient shall execute an agreement to fulfill a service requirement or repay the amount of any award received.
(2) Awards are made as follows, subject to the rule required by this section:
(A) An award for any student may not exceed the full cost of education for program completion;
(B) An award of up to $3,000 is available for a student in a licensed practical nurse education program. A recipient is required to practice nursing in West Virginia for one year following program completion;
(C) An award of up to $7,500 is available for a student who has completed one-half of a registered nurse education program. A recipient is required to teach or practice nursing in West Virginia for two years following program completion.
(D) An award of up to $15,000 is available to a student in a nursing master's degree program or a doctoral nursing or education program. A recipient is required to teach in West Virginia for two years following program completion.
(E) An award of up to $1,000 per year is available for a student obtaining a licensed practical nurse teaching certificate. A recipient is required to teach in West Virginia for one year per award received.
(d) An award recipient shall satisfy one of the following conditions:
(1) Fulfill the service requirement pursuant to this section and the legislative rule; or
(2) Repay the commission for the amount awarded, together with accrued interest as stipulated in the service agreement.
(e) The commission shall promulgate a rule for legislative approval pursuant to article three-a, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code to implement and administer this section. The rule shall provide for the following:
(1) Eligibility and selection criteria for program participation;
(2) Terms of a service agreement which a recipient shall execute as a condition of receiving an award;
(3) Repayment provisions for a recipient who fails to fulfill the service requirement;
(4) Forgiveness options for death or disability of a recipient;
(5) An appeal process for students denied participation or ordered to repay awards; and
(6) Additional provisions as necessary to implement this section.
(f) The commission shall report annually by December 1, to the Legislative Oversight Commission on Health and Human Resources Accountability and the Legislative Oversight Commission on Education Accountability on the number of award recipients and all other matters relevant to the provisions of this section.
The WV Code Online is an unofficial copy of the annotated WV Code, provided as a convenience. It has NOT been edited for publication, and is not in any way official or authoritative.