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Weinberg Measure To Bring More Health Care Providers To Urban And Rural Towns

TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senator Loretta Weinberg to expand the State’s partial loan reimbursement program to include additional primary care practitioners who practice in underserved areas was approved by the Senate Education Committee today.

“There is a shortage of health practitioners in many urban and rural communities throughout New Jersey,” said Senator Weinberg, D-Bergen. “By extending the current loan reimbursement program we can help bring health services to our underserved areas.”

Senator Weinberg stated, “The Primary Care Physician/Dentist Loan Redemption Program was originally established in 1991 to provide financial assistance for a portion of student loan expenses of physicians and dentists who work in medically underserved areas.”

The bill, S-1404, would change the name of the program from “Primary Care Physician and Dentist Loan Redemption Program” to “Primary Care Practitioner Loan Redemption Program” to reflect the inclusion of other primary care practitioners, such as nurse practitioners.

Senator Weinberg stated that the bill would also require a one year minimum length of service in an underserved area to qualify for any redemption.

Senator Weinberg noted that, “The program is funded with a combination of federal and state funds and, currently, 47 loans are partially being reimbursed under the program.

The bill now heads to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee for consideration.