Maine veterinary loan repayment laws

August 2008

Maine Revised Statutes Annotated
Title 20-A. Education
Part 5. Post-Secondary Education
Chapter 424. Medical Education and Recruitment
§ 12104. Loans for medical education

The Health Professions Loan Program, referred to in this section as the "program," is established and is administered by the authority.

1. Eligibility. Loans are available to Maine residents pursuing allopathic, osteopathic, optometric, veterinary and dentistry education who meet eligibility criteria, established by rule of the authority, which at a minimum must require:

A. That the student show financial need for a loan; and

B. That priority be given to students:

(1) Who have previously received a loan pursuant to this section and who exhibit financial need as determined by the authority; or

(2) Who are participants in the access to medical education program established in this chapter.

Loans under this section are available only to eligible students on or after January 1, 1993.

2. State contract students. Students who entered into agreements pursuant to section 11804-A and who are otherwise eligible are eligible for a loan under this program. Any amount the authority paid on behalf of a state contract student under section 11804-A that is not directly used to secure a position at a school of medicine is deemed a loan for purposes of determining the maximum loan amount a student may receive under this section.

3. Maximum loan amount. The chief executive officer may establish the maximum loan amount and may provide for a different maximum loan amount for applicants in different categories.

4. Allocation of loan fund. The loan fund must be allocated as follows.

A. Ninety percent of the loan fund designated for loans must be available for students of allopathic medicine and osteopathic medicine.

B. Up to 10% of the loan fund designated for loans is available for Maine residents studying optometry, veterinary and dental medicine.

5. Loan agreement. The student shall enter into a loan agreement that provides for the following.

A. Upon completion of professional education the student shall repay the loan in accordance with the following schedule.

(1) A loan recipient who does not obtain loan forgiveness pursuant to this section shall repay the entire principal portion of the loan plus simple interest at a rate to be determined by rule of the authority. Interest does not begin to accrue until the loan recipient completes medical education, including residency and internship. The authority may establish differing interest rates to encourage loan recipients to practice primary health care medicine in the State.

(2) Primary health care physicians and dentists practicing in a designated health professional shortage area, any physician practicing in an underserved specialty or any physician providing services to a designated underserved group are forgiven the larger of 25% of the original outstanding indebtedness plus any accrued interest or $7,500 for each year of practice.

Primary health care physicians and dentists practicing in the State, but not practicing in a designated health professional shortage area, are forgiven the larger of 12.5% of the original outstanding indebtedness plus any accrued interest or $3,750 for each year of practice.

(3) Veterinarians providing services to Maine residents with insufficient veterinary services are forgiven the larger of 25% of the original outstanding indebtedness plus any accrued interest or $7,500 for each year of practice.

(4) Any student completing an entire residency at any primary health care residency program in the State is forgiven 50% of the original outstanding indebtedness for each year of practice in a designated health professional shortage area, as a physician practicing in an underserved specialty or as a physician providing services to an underserved group or 25% of the original outstanding indebtedness for each year of primary health care practice in the State.

B. Loans must be repaid over a term no greater than 10 years, except that the chief executive officer may extend an individual's term as necessary to ensure repayment of the loan. Repayment must commence when the loan recipient completes, withdraws from or otherwise fails to continue medical education.

C. Any loan recipient requesting forgiveness or an interest rate reduction under this section, excluding veterinarians, shall report annually to the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Rural Health the following:

(1) The number of Medicaid patients served by the loan recipient and the percentage of the loan recipient's overall service provided to Medicaid patients;

(2) The number of instances in which a loan recipient accepted a Medicare assignment and the number of and basis for any rejections during the period of the report; and

(3) The amount of time devoted by the loan recipient to practice in a public health clinic during the period of the report.

The Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Rural Health and the Finance Authority of Maine shall determine whether the level of service provided by the loan recipient to Medicaid and Medicare patients and in public health clinics was reasonable. If the Office of Rural Health and the Finance Authority of Maine determine that the level of service provided was not reasonable or if the loan recipient fails to provide the report by the date required, the loan recipient is not entitled to any loan forgiveness or interest rate reduction under this section for the year of the report.

6. Deferments. Deferments may be granted for causes established by rule of the authority. Interest at a rate to be determined by rule of the authority must be assessed during the deferment. The student's total debt to the authority, including principal and interest, must be repaid either through return service or cash payments. The chief executive officer shall make determinations of deferment on a case-by-case basis. The decision of the chief executive officer is final.


Source: AVMA Staff Research, State Legislative and Regulatory Affairs Dept.
Contact: Tara Southwell, State Policy Analyst, AVMA State Legislative and Regulatory Department, 847-285-6779