3RNet Blog

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We took some time to learn more about the innovative programs Maryland has going in their state from our Maryland 3RNet member, Temi Oshiyoye. She was able to share some successful programs her state is currently running, in addition to a program their hopeful will get off the ground and soon be running.

Maryland has several programs that benefit health care providers. We participate in the federal State Loan Repayment Program (SLRP), run a tax credit program, and we’re currently working to establish a rural residency training program.

SLRP

SLRP is a one-to-one match of state and federal dollars. We’ve made it a little bit flexible with the dollars the state matches. On the national level, SLRP is open to a lot of providers, but in Maryland it’s specific to physicians and physician assistants because the match dollars are provided by the Maryland Board of Physicians.

If a provider wants to apply for SLRP dollars, in order to qualify for the federal funds they must work for a non-profit entity located in a health professional shortage area (HPSA). However, for the state funds, providers can work for either a non-profit or a for-profit and the facility does not have to be in a federally designated HPSA but must be in what is considered in the state to be a medically underserved area. State funds are also open to medical residents, in addition to physicians and physician assistants. Residents are able to apply in their last year of residency which can make a big difference with taxes and interest.

The SLRP program in Maryland provides $25,000 per year in exchange for a two year commitment. We have two application cycles each year; one in the spring and the other in the fall.

Health Enterprise Zones

Maryland also runs a program called “HEZ” – which stands for Health Enterprise Zones. Zip codes in the state are split into five zones which indicate the areas in highest need of health care professionals. Providers who work in different areas receive tax credits according to the zip code and how its classified in this program. Three out of the five zones are in rural areas.

Rural Residency Program

Finally, we’re working with partners across our state to try and establish a rural residency training track for physicians. We don’t have funding yet; we’ve applied for a few grants that haven’t worked out but we’re hopeful this idea will eventually come together to benefit our state. With a rural residency program, we’re able to focus more on physicians that have a rural focus in mind. People who sign up for that track have that interest and are more likely to stay there.  We think this is so important because it’s beyond what a rural rotation experience (although those are great!) can provide to someone with their heart set on practicing rural. Right now it’s still idea but we’re hoping it comes together.

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