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Psychiatrists may join loan program

Published (3/13/2009)
By Sue Hegarty
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Since 1990, select health professionals who agree to work in underserved areas of the state have had a portion of their student loans forgiven. Last year, $7.8 million in loans were forgiven and soon, another $20 million may be available from the federal stimulus funds.Beginning next fiscal year, HF113 would add pediatric psychologists to the list of eligible healthcare providers.

Rep. Matt Dean (R-Dellwood), the bill sponsor, said it is in response to a shortage of mental health beds and workers in Minnesota, which should be confirmed in a workforce shortages report due out this week.

“One of the issues that we’re really grappling with is getting the right care at the right place at the right time across Minnesota. We’ve had real access problems in the state, particularly in the area of psychiatric help and also pediatric mental health services,” Dean told the House Housing Finance and Policy and Public Health Finance Division March 10.

The bill will be considered for possible inclusion in the division’s omnibus bill. Its companion, SF92, sponsored by Sen. Ray Vandeveer (R-Forest Lake), awaits action by the Senate Health and Human Services Budget Division.

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