Category: Louisiana Primary Care Office
Well-Ahead Louisiana, through the Primary Care Office, works to connect residents in rural and underserved areas across the state to critical healthcare services. Areas in Louisiana with too few primary care physicians, dentists and mental health professionals are considered Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSA). From October 2020 through September 2021, approximately 73% of Louisiana residents lived in a Primary Care HPSA, 86% of the state lived in a Dental Health HPSA, and 100% lived in a Mental Health HPSA.
Based on these designations, Well-Ahead continuously collaborates with HRSA and coordinates several programs, including Louisiana State Loan Repayment Program, Louisiana Conrad 30/J-1 Visa Waiver Program, National Health Service Corps, that encourage healthcare professionals to serve in these areas.
Louisiana State Loan Repayment Program
was awarded to 47 healthcare professionals in Louisiana from the State Loan Repayment Program.
The Louisiana State Loan Repayment Program encourages primary care practitioners to serve in health professional shortage areas by offering repayment of governmental or commercial educational loans.
In 2020-2021, the State Loan Repayment Program supported a total of 47 primary care practitioners in rural and underserved areas statewide. There were 12 new providers, 31 providers who continued their obligation, and four providers who renewed their obligation. This program successfully awarded $782,550 in contracts in 2020-2021.
National Health Service Corps Loan and Scholarship Program
primary care health professionals throughout the state benefited from National Health Service Corps Programs
National Health Service Corps (NHSC) programs offer tax-free loan repayment assistance or scholarships to support qualified clinicians who work at an NHSC-approved site in a designated HPSA. Louisiana currently has 216 primary care health professionals participating in these three different NHSC Loan and Scholarship Programs.
- There were 205 Louisiana providers that benefited from the NHSC Loan Repayment Program. This program offers tax-free loan repayment assistance to support qualified clinicians who work at an NHSC-approved site in a designated HPSA.
- Five Louisiana students benefitted from the NHSC Student to Service Loan Repayment Program. Through this program, students in their last year of medical or dental school receive loan repayment assistance in return for at least three years of service at an NHSC-approved site in a designated HPSA.
- The NHSC Scholarship Program awards scholarships to students pursuing eligible primary care health professions training. In return, scholars commit to providing primary care health services in HPSAs. There were six recipients from Louisiana for this scholarship program.
Louisiana Conrad 30/J-1 Visa Waiver Program
Louisiana primary care physicians are sponsored through the Louisiana Conrad 30/J-1 Visa Waiver Program
The Louisiana Conrad 30/J-1 Visa Waiver Program provides international medical graduates the opportunity to work in HPSAs in Louisiana.
In 2020-2021, the Conrad 30/J-1 Visa Waiver Program sponsored an additional 22 J-1 Visa Waiver physicians, for a total of 37 primary care physicians currently being sponsored by Well-Ahead and serving in rural and underserved areas across the state.
health professionals were connected to employment opportunities in Louisiana through 3RNet
The Well-Ahead Louisiana Primary Care Office is also a member the Rural Recruitment and Retention Network (3RNet). This means we are able to connect primary care health professionals to job opportunities in rural and underserved communities in our state.
In 2020-2021, there were 87 vacancies posted within the network, 768 newly registered health professionals interested in working in Louisiana, and 2,166 health professionals referred to healthcare employers in Louisiana.
While these loan assistance, scholarship and job connection programs reward healthcare professionals for working in underserved areas throughout Louisiana, they ultimately increase access to primary care services in our communities that need it most—moving the health of our residents forward!