New Law Expands Loan Repayment and Scholarship Opportunities for Oklahoma PAs

Oklahoma PAs are celebrating increased access to loan repayment and scholarship programs administered by the state’s Physician Manpower Training Commission (PMTC) thanks to the enactment of H.B. 2987. The new law, which was strongly supported by the Oklahoma Academy of PAs, was signed on May 10 and becomes effective on Nov. 1, 2018.

Under H.B. 2987, PAs practicing in rural or underserved areas of the state will be eligible for the Oklahoma Medical Loan Repayment Program. This program was previously open only to primary care physicians. Additionally, H.B. 2987 will allow nonresident PA students to participate in the existing Physician Assistant Scholarship Program, which provides scholarships to PA students who commit to practicing in the state’s rural or underserved areas. Awards for both programs are determined at the discretion of the PMTC.

PMTC works to improve access to healthcare by creating incentives for practitioners who provide care to underserved populations. In addition to offering scholarship and loan repayment opportunities, PMTC administers a placement program which connects interested practitioners with facilities in need of additional personnel.

AAPA’s 2017 Salary Survey found that while almost 35 percent of Oklahoma’s population is rural, only 20 percent of PAs in the state currently practice in rural areas. H.B. 2987 will increase incentives for additional PAs to provide necessary care to rural communities.

For more information about the new law or PA practice in Oklahoma, please contact Erika Miller, director, constituent organization outreach and advocacy.