Governor Newsom pleads for forgiveness of loans to doctors in California

June 28, 2022
Hobbies: Medical workforce

Governor Gavin Newsom recently sent a letter to US Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona urging him to fix the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (PSLF), which unfairly excludes doctors from California and Texas. The exclusion severely limits California’s ability to recruit and retain physicians because they cannot qualify for loan forgiveness, and the inequality ultimately impairs patient access to community hospital physicians.

The California Medical Association (CMA) has long advocated a solution, through legislative and regulatory channels, so that California doctors are not unfairly excluded from the program.

The PSLF program aimed to provide loan forgiveness to people who engage in community service for 10 years by working in non-profit organizations, encouraging careers serving the public good and improving access to healthcare healthcare by making it easier for doctors to pursue careers. non-profit community hospitals.

Unfortunately, when the US Department of Education drafted the implementing regulations, they were narrowed to require physicians to be “directly employed.” Because state laws in California and Texas prohibit most doctor jobs in hospitals, doctors from our nation’s two largest states were unwittingly excluded from the program, which doctors from the other 48 states participate in.

Earlier this year, a bipartisan group of congressional representatives sent Secretary Cardona a joint letter pointing out that Congress never considered excluding doctors from the nation’s two largest states when they created the program.

With an average medical school debt of $200,000, doctors are discouraged from practicing in California and Texas because they cannot get their loans forgiven, as they can in other states. California and Texas are expected to experience the two largest doctor shortages over the next decade due to population growth and aging and an aging medical workforce (about one-third of doctors have more 60 and half over 50). It is more imperative than ever that the US Department of Education update the regulations so that physicians in California and Texas can participate in the program, as well as their colleagues in all other states.

Governor Newsom is urging Secretary Cardona to adopt a proposal recently submitted by the CMA, along with the California Hospital Association (CHA), Texas Medical Association (TMA), and Texas Hospital Association (THA) that would provide a rigorous equivalent in California and the Texas. to direct hospital employment, which we believe meets the intent of the original statute and departmental standards.

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