UW System Position on Bills Introduced in the Legislature During the 2007-2008 Session
Medical Student Loan program
(Mursau) Creates $450,000/yr. loan program, to be administered by HEAB, for tuition, fees, and expenses for resident medical school students, who are enrolled in the UW-Madison Medical School and are earning their doctor of medicine degree. These students must agree to practice medicine for a minimum of two years in rural areas of the state. The maximum amount of a loan that a person may receive during any fiscal year is $10,000 and the maximum amount that a person may receive under this program $50,000. After a loan recipient has completed his/her program of study, HEAB must forgive 10 percent of the loan’s principal and interest after the first year, 10 percent of the loan’s principal and interest after the second year, 10 percent of the loan’s principal and interest after the third year, 10 percent of the loan’s principal and interest after the fourth year, 20 percent of the loan’s principal and interest after the fifth year and 20% of the loan’s principal and interest after the sixth full year that the recipient has been employed full time as a doctor of medicine in a health professional shortage area.Referred to: Committee on Public Health
UW System Position
SUPPORT: Loan forgiveness programs provide incentives for doctors to practice in rural areas in exchange for assisting with their medical school debt. Both the doctor whose debt is being reduced and the Wisconsin citizens, who are afforded the opportunity to access quality health care, benefit.
The August 2005 report, “Health Care Wisconsin,” prepared by the Governor’s Health Care Worker Shortage Committee, documented a Wisconsin physician shortage in Wisconsin’s rural areas where 33% of Wisconsin’s citizens live but only 11% of our physicians practice. Further, 83% (60) of Wisconsin’s counties are designated as totally or partially underserved and 77% (46) of these counties are rural. Medical studies show that rural citizens are generally sicker, poorer, older, and more likely to be uninsured and the likelihood that doctors will choose to practice in rural areas is decreasing as a survey of current graduating medical students indicates that only 4% are considering practice in a rural area.