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  • Student Loan Repayment Program to Include PTs? Health Services Corps Bill Reintroduced in US Senate

    It's back: APTA-supported legislation that would list physical therapists (PTs) among the professions included in a federal program to provide greater patient access to health care in rural and underserved areas has been reintroduced in the Senate. If passed into law, the program could open up access to a student loan repayment program for participating PTs—and help address the nation's opioid crisis in areas that have been especially hard-hit.

    The bill (S.970) would allow PTs to participate in the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) loan repayment program, an initiative that repays up to $50,000 in outstanding student loans to certain health care professionals who agree to work for at least 2 years in a designated Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA). An estimated 11.4 million Americans are served by the NHSC. The bill was introduced by Sens John Tester (D-MT), Roger Wicker (R-MS), and Angus King (I-ME).

    APTA is a strong supporter of legislation that extends student loan forgiveness to PTs, particularly as a way to improve access to physical therapist services in areas already experiencing shortages. But according to APTA Vice President of Government Affairs Justin Elliott, there's an additional important reason that the association is advocating for the bill's passage.

    "The opioid epidemic has been especially devastating in rural and medically underserved areas," said Elliott. "And while the role of physical therapy as an important nonpharmacological alternative in the prevention, treatment, and management of pain is well-established, the current services corps law doesn't include any physical rehabilitation component. Allowing PTs to participate in the NHSC could help increase patient access to better ways to manage pain, especially for individuals who have or at risk of developing a substance use disorder."

    Advocacy for S.970 (and its yet-to-be-introduced companion in the US House of Representatives) was a major focus of Capitol Hill visits conducted by APTA members as part of the APTA Federal Advocacy Forum held from March 31 to April 2. APTA encourages members to join the push for the bill by contacting their senators to urge them to become cosponsors by way of a prewritten letter, available at the APTA Legislative Action Center, that helps to deliver a unified message (member login required).

    APTA staff will closely track the progress of this legislation—be on the lookout for more opportunities to advocate for this important change.

    Comments

    • Sounds like a win, win, hope it passes!

      Posted by Patricia Brennan on 4/6/2019 8:39 PM

    • Agree

      Posted by Adrianna Ellis on 4/8/2019 11:49 AM

    • I will keep fingers and toes crossed on this one. This is a win/win - for the patients and for the PTs who could reduce their huge debt.

      Posted by Rebecca Craik on 4/10/2019 4:05 PM

    • Hallelujiah!! This would be instrumental in helping attract young professionals to our area.

      Posted by Jeanine McLellan on 4/10/2019 4:18 PM

    • I advocate for this bill. Student loans, especially being in a Doctorate PT program, are incredibly high. Hope it passes!

      Posted by Paige Wache -> CNW`>K on 4/10/2019 5:18 PM

    • This is wonderful news and I look forward to supporting APTA in its endeavor to pass this legislation. Is there a list of HPSA facilities?

      Posted by Teresa Casagranda, PT, DPT on 4/10/2019 5:35 PM

    • I agree, I hope this bill passes, I think many will benefit from this.

      Posted by Kendal Simmons on 4/10/2019 5:41 PM

    • Fantastic news! Thank you Mr. Elliott and all working hard at APTA for federal advocacy. Letting PTs help more people is a win-win :) Let’s rally the support!

      Posted by Nikki Imhoff on 4/10/2019 5:52 PM

    • This is a topic I have been tracking for a while. There is a huge need for PT's in rural and community health!

      Posted by Tony Moulder on 4/10/2019 6:00 PM

    • Don't just hope it passes, contact your senator!

      Posted by Paul Oberdorfer on 4/10/2019 6:17 PM

    • Absolutely agree!

      Posted by Brittany English on 4/10/2019 6:20 PM

    • This would be great!

      Posted by Joseph Lamar Brown on 4/10/2019 6:28 PM

    • Long overdue--let's fight hard for this!

      Posted by Susan McGinty on 4/10/2019 7:05 PM

    • Looking at my future in PT. I know I’ll be $100k+ in debt when I graduate!

      Posted by Simon on 4/10/2019 7:50 PM

    • Let’s save the lives that were initially destroyed by opioids by giving people a chance through access to PT!

      Posted by Jorid Halsnes on 4/10/2019 7:51 PM

    • Agree

      Posted by Kathryn Fulghum on 4/10/2019 8:11 PM

    • If you understand why a university education has become so expensive, who benefits from student loans, who arranged for them to benefit and why, the causes of the opioid epidemic, the sources of the poverty and economic despair in these parts of the country, the past history of programs of this type, etc., you would realize this is a waste of the taxpayers money and will do nothing to solve the problem. This isn't a win, win. It's a lose, lose. It's amazing to me how politically naive and how economically illiterate the average American has become. No wonder we've become known around the world as "the dumb Americans". https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VMqcLUqYqrs

      Posted by Brian Miller on 4/10/2019 8:20 PM

    • I think this would be an excellent passed bill for us and would be highly beneficial to our patients in these areas.

      Posted by Sean Farris on 4/10/2019 8:43 PM

    • Please consider this bill. My wife and I both have student loans and are now realizing the difficulties of loans on top of mortgage, kids, car payments, etc. I love my job, but my salary will never be enough to pay off the loans and interest. Please consider passing this bill. Thanks you!

      Posted by Mark Slobodinsky on 4/10/2019 9:14 PM

    • I am about to graduate and student loans have been my main concern for a job. It’s extremely disappointing that the field I love has driven me into so much debt and there is not an easy way out. Please sign this bill and help out physical therapists. We have almost equivalent loan amounts as medical students - but with A LOT less pay.

      Posted by Claire Duffy on 4/10/2019 9:14 PM

    • As a student I for one would be very open to this type of opportunity, I hope this type of system gets put in place because I feel we could do a lot of good in those types of areas.

      Posted by Connor Brown on 4/10/2019 9:16 PM

    • This is a great opportunity to practice and serve in the communities in which PT is needed the most.

      Posted by Omar Serrano on 4/10/2019 9:29 PM

    • Loan repayment please!

      Posted by Margo Recla-Juedes on 4/10/2019 9:29 PM

    • Do it

      Posted by Peter Nguyen on 4/10/2019 9:43 PM

    • Yes

      Posted by Hunter Westbrook on 4/10/2019 9:52 PM

    • 100%

      Posted by Logan Seal on 4/10/2019 11:36 PM

    • It’s been so hard to continually pull out loans when I already have undergraduate debt. My heart belongs in the physical therapy field but I cannot imagine working so hard for so long to come out with piles of debt and not being able to live a happy life with the amount of student debt. Thank you so much for your time.

      Posted by Sammie Dunlay on 4/10/2019 11:52 PM

    • Yes

      Posted by Kaitlyn Craig on 4/11/2019 8:07 AM

    • Agree

      Posted by Sarah on 4/11/2019 9:02 AM

    • Sounds like a great need. Hope it passes.

      Posted by Nancy Bailey on 4/11/2019 11:17 AM

    • There is no such thing as loan forgiveness. It turns personal debt into public debt. Everybody including those who don't have debt or already paid off their debts are forced to pay for somebody else's personal decisions. Bad bill for all, including physical therapists.

      Posted by Matt Cole on 4/11/2019 12:53 PM

    • Would you please link the best route to advocate for this bill passing? Thanks

      Posted by Chris Hunter on 4/11/2019 2:39 PM

    • I would serve a rural area if this was an incentive

      Posted by Zach G. on 4/11/2019 2:51 PM

    • "Loan forgiveness" is the redistribution of personal debt. The one being "forgiven" entered into a personal contract willingly. The ones ding the "forgiving" are having their hard work confiscated. The advocation of such an unconscionable practice should be left to the illogical and the immoral, not an organization for healthcare professionals.

      Posted by Matt Cole on 4/11/2019 3:33 PM

    • Really hoping this happens

      Posted by Ashton Schoen on 4/11/2019 3:45 PM

    • Sounds great. Win win

      Posted by Sherri Hefferan on 4/11/2019 5:23 PM

    • This is very important for our students and those that want to continue into residency and fellowship education! Thank you!

      Posted by Airelle Giordano on 4/11/2019 8:05 PM

    • This would be a blessing for me as a PT, I hope it passes!!!!

      Posted by Sarah L on 4/11/2019 8:28 PM

    • As much as I agree that we need serious solutions for student debt, so far the loan forgiveness program has not been working as advertised for the other professions who currently qualify. See "Student Loan Forgiveness Program Rejects 99% Of Applicants" https://www.forbes.com/sites/zackfriedman/2018/09/24/public-service-loan-forgiveness-rejected/#26053a611824 I think a more impactful push for our legislators should be on reducing the interest rates to something reasonable and allowing subsidies for interest while in school (similar to undergraduate loan options) so that students are not accruing additional debt while attending their programs.

      Posted by Brianna Darneal -> CKRcBM on 4/12/2019 2:39 PM

    • This would really benefit everyone in the community.

      Posted by Nazar Borishkevich on 4/12/2019 4:02 PM

    • I agree with this! It will be a great incentive for those of us who want to work for people that other PT's don't get to see. I am an individual who wants to work rural so I can see everything, and treat everything. I want to be the person that people rely on. This Bill will help me in my mission.

      Posted by Nathan Bailey on 4/12/2019 10:20 PM

    • The debt to income ratio for PTs is such that it makes it difficult to pay bills, live and move forward in life due to the financial burden of the loans.

      Posted by Jeanine on 4/13/2019 2:07 AM

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