Wednesday, March 25, 2009

NY Helping Doctors

A program to help train and place physicians in medically underserved communities across New York state will provide $11 million to aid physicians with repayment of qualified medical school loans in exchange for a minimum five-year commitment to practice is an underserved area over five years. In addition, $11 million will be awarded over two years to aid physicians in expanding or establishing medical practices or healthcare facilities to recruit new physicians to practice in an underserved area.

The program called “New York State’s New Doctors Across New York” will offer 83 physicians up to $150,000 over five years for loan repayment, and 126 medical practices will receive funding of up to $100,000 over two years for practice and clinic support. In the coming year, the state expects to spend up to $1.5 million on physician loan repayment awards and spend up to $5.5 million in medical practice support awards.

Approximately 25 percent of New Yorkers live in 91 federally designated Health Professional Shortage Areas plus many other areas also have shortages of critical specialists. Seven counties have no practicing obstetricians and the Southern Tier has seen an 18 percent decline in obstetrician-gynecologists since 2001.

According to Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver “Over a quarter of New Yorkers live in areas underserved by healthcare providers and half of the resident physicians leave the state after completing their training.”

The awards will include loan repayments for 17 physicians in primary care, 15 in family practice, 10 in obstetrics-gynecology, 11 in internal-adult medicine, 6 in emergency medicine, 4 in psychiatry and its sub specialties, 4 for general surgeons, and 4 for general pediatrics.

Healthcare institutions and physicians’ offices will be able to support 33 more family medicine physicians across the state, 27 primary care physicians, 12 internal medicine-adult medicine doctors, 10 general surgeons, and 8 physicians each in the fields of emergency medicine, psychiatry, and general pediatrics.

The awardees represent more than 100 individual facilities or physicians. Applications were reviewed based on the underserved community and its population needs, and the community’s circumstances such as the length of time the position had been vacant, if there are long waiting times for appointments, or if emergency rooms are overcrowded for routine care.