HOUSE BILL 126
53rd legislature - STATE OF NEW MEXICO - first session, 2017
Doreen Y. Gallegos
RELATING TO INCREASING THE HEALTH CARE WORKFORCE; ESTABLISHING PREFERENCES FOR FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE TO MEDICAL STUDENTS ATTENDING A NEW MEXICO POST-SECONDARY EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTION; ESTABLISHING PREFERENCES FOR FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE TO CERTAIN HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONALS WHO HAVE ATTENDED A NEW MEXICO POST-SECONDARY EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTION; DECLARING AN EMERGENCY.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO:
SECTION 1. Section 21-22-4 NMSA 1978 (being Laws 1975, Chapter 244, Section 4, as amended) is amended to read:
"21-22-4. MEDICAL STUDENT LOANS--[COMMISSION ON] HIGHER
EDUCATION DEPARTMENT AUTHORIZED--QUALIFICATIONS.--
A. The [commission] higher education department is authorized to grant a loan to defray the expenses of the medical education of a student deemed qualified by the [commission] department to receive the medical education, upon such terms and conditions as may be imposed by regulations of the [commission] department.
B. The [commission] department shall only receive, pass upon and allow or disallow those applications for loans made by those students enrolled or accepted by colleges of medicine who are bona fide citizens and residents of the United States and of New Mexico and who declare their intent to practice as physicians within designated areas of the state.
C. The [commission] department shall make a full and careful investigation of the ability, character and qualifications of each applicant and determine [his] the applicant's fitness to become a recipient of a student loan. The investigation of each applicant shall include an investigation of the ability of the applicant and [his] the applicant's parents or guardians to pay the applicant's expenses for a medical education. The [commission] department shall give preference to qualified applicants who:
(1) are unable, or whose parents or guardians are unable, to pay the applicant's expenses in obtaining a medical education; and
(2) are attending a New Mexico post-secondary educational institution.
D. The [commission] department shall arrange for loan recipients to receive assistance in locating, planning and implementing the establishment and maintenance of a medical practice in a designated underserved area."
SECTION 2. Section 21-22D-6 NMSA 1978 (being Laws 1995, Chapter 144, Section 21, as amended) is amended to read:
"21-22D-6. AWARD CRITERIA--CONTRACT TERMS--PAYMENT.--
A. Prior to receiving an award, the health professional shall file with the [commission] higher education department a declaration of intent to practice as a health professional in areas of New Mexico designated as underserved by the [commission] department.
B. Award criteria shall provide that:
(1) amounts shall be dependent upon the location of the practice, the applicant's total health professional education indebtedness and characteristics of the practice;
(2) preference in making awards shall be to individuals who have graduated from a New Mexico [public] post-secondary educational institution;
(3) recruitment awards shall be made to eligible participants who agree to relocate to an approved designated area;
(4) highest priority shall be given to participants in practices in which health profession vacancies are difficult to fill, practices that require after hours call at least every other night and practices that have heavy obstetrical responsibilities;
(5) award amounts may be modified based upon available funding or other special circumstances; and
(6) an award shall not exceed the total medical education indebtedness of any participant.
C. The following education debts are not eligible for repayment pursuant to the Health Professional Loan Repayment Act:
(1) amounts incurred as a result of participation in state loan-for-service programs or other state programs whose purpose states that service be provided in exchange for financial assistance;
(2) scholarships that have a service component or obligation;
(3) personal loans from friends or relatives; and
(4) loans that exceed individual standard school expense levels.
D. The loan repayment award shall be evidenced by a contract between the health professional and the [commission] department acting on behalf of the state. The contract shall provide for the payment by the state of a stated sum to the health professional's debtors and shall state the obligations of the health professional under the program, including a minimum two-year period of service, quarterly reporting requirements and other policies established by the [commission] department.
E. Recipients shall serve a complete year in order to receive credit for that year. The minimum credit for a year shall be established by the [commission] department.
F. If a health professional does not comply with the terms of the contract, the [commission] department shall assess a penalty of up to three times the amount of award disbursed plus eighteen percent interest, unless the [commission] department finds acceptable extenuating circumstances for why the health professional cannot serve or comply with the terms of the contract. If the [commission] department does not find acceptable extenuating circumstances for the health professional's failure to comply with the contract, the [commission] department shall require immediate repayment plus the amount of the penalty.
G. The [commission] department shall adopt regulations to implement the provisions of this section. The regulations may provide for the disbursement of loan repayment awards to the lenders of health professionals in annual or other periodic installments."
SECTION 3. EMERGENCY.--It is necessary for the public peace, health and safety that this act take effect immediately.
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