Oklahoma veterinary loan repayment laws

August 2008

SB 70 – passed 5/2008 – effective 11/2008

BE IT ENACTED BY THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF OKLAHOMA:

SECTION 1. NEW LAW A new section of law to be codified in the Oklahoma Statutes as Section 698.31 of Title 59, unless there is created a duplication in numbering, reads as follows:

This act shall be known and may be cited as the "Large Animal Veterinarian Incentive Act".

SECTION 2. NEW LAW A new section of law to be codified in the Oklahoma Statutes as Section 698.32 of Title 59, unless there is created a duplication in numbering, reads as follows:

As used in the Large Animal Veterinarian Incentive Act:

1. "Veterinary Center" means the Center for Veterinary Health Sciences at Oklahoma State University;

2. "Program" means the veterinary training program for rural Oklahoma established pursuant to Section 3 of this act; and

3. "Program agreement" means an agreement to meet all the obligations provided in Section 3 of this act by a person who is a first-year veterinary student at the Veterinary Center or currently practicing large animal veterinarian in exchange for the benefits provided in Section 3 of this act.

SECTION 3. NEW LAW A new section of law to be codified in the Oklahoma Statutes as Section 698.33 of Title 59, unless there is created a duplication in numbering, reads as follows:

A. There is hereby established the veterinary training program for rural Oklahoma to be administered by the Oklahoma State University Center for Veterinary Health Sciences. The program shall be developed and implemented in order to provide encouragement, opportunities, and incentives for persons pursuing a veterinary medicine degree at Oklahoma State University to locate their veterinary practice in rural Oklahoma communities, and receive specialized training targeted to meet the needs of livestock producers in rural Oklahoma communities.

B. Subject to available funds, each year the Veterinary Center may enter into program agreements with up to three first-year veterinary students or currently practicing large animal veterinarians with qualifying school loans, as determined by the Veterinary Center. Preference shall be given to those students and large animal veterinarians who are Oklahoma residents and who agree to serve in a community as described in paragraph 3 of subsection D of this section, which is determined by the Veterinary Center to be an underserved area for the practice of veterinary medicine.

C. Subject to available funds, each student or large animal veterinarian entering into a program agreement under this section shall receive assistance in an amount not to exceed Twenty Thousand Dollars ($20,000.00) per year for not more than four (4) years for tuition, books, supplies, and other school expenses, and travel and training expenses incurred by the student in pursuing a veterinary medicine degree. Upon satisfaction of all commitments under the provisions of the agreement and the provisions of this section, the financial obligations pursuant to this section shall be deemed satisfied and forgiven.

D. Each program agreement shall require that the person receiving the assistance:

1. Complete the veterinary medicine degree program at the Veterinary Center;

2. Complete all requirements in public health, livestock biosecurity, foreign animal disease diagnosis, regulatory veterinary medicine and zoonotic disease, and an externship and mentoring requirement with a licensed, accredited veterinarian in rural Oklahoma as required by the Veterinary Center;

3. Engage in the full-time practice of veterinary medicine in any community in Oklahoma which has a population not exceeding twenty-five thousand (25,000) as determined by the most recent Federal Decennial Census at the time the person entered into the program agreement for a period of at least twelve (12) continuous months for each separate year a student receives assistance under the program, unless the obligation is otherwise satisfied as provided in this section. If, after the date a program agreement was entered into by the parties, a community no longer meets the maximum population requirements provided in this paragraph, a person engaging in the full-time practice of veterinary medicine pursuant to the program agreement shall continue to practice in that designated community; and

4. Commence the full-time practice of veterinary medicine in that community within ninety (90) days after completion of the person's degree program, or if the person enters a postdegree training program, such as a graduate school or internship or residency program, within ninety (90) days after completion of the postdegree training program.

E. Upon the failure of a person to satisfy the obligation to engage in the full-time practice of veterinary medicine in accordance with the provisions of this section, that person shall repay to the Veterinary Center, within ninety (90) days of the failure, the amount equal to the assistance provided to the person less a prorated amount based on any periods of practice of veterinary medicine meeting the requirements of this section, plus interest at the prime rate of interest plus two percent (2%) from the date the assistance accrued. The interest shall be compounded annually.

F. An obligation to engage in the practice of veterinary medicine in accordance with the provisions of this section shall be postponed during:

1. Any period of temporary medical disability during which the person obligated is unable to practice veterinary medicine due to the disability; and

2. Any other period of postponement agreed to or determined in accordance with criteria agreed to in the practice agreement.

G. An obligation to engage in the practice of veterinary medicine in accordance with the provisions of the agreement and this section shall be satisfied:

1. If the obligation to engage in the practice of veterinary medicine in accordance with the agreement has been completed;

2. If, because of permanent disability, the person obligated is unable to practice veterinary medicine; or

3. The person who is obligated dies.

H. The Veterinary Center may adopt additional provisions, requirements, or conditions to participate in this program as are practicable and appropriate to accomplish the provisions of the program or may be required for the implementation or administration of the program, and are not inconsistent with the provisions of this section.

I. The Veterinary Center shall not enter into any program agreements pursuant to the provisions of this section after July 1, 2018. All agreements entered into prior to such date shall be valid.

SECTION 4. This act shall become effective November 1, 2008.


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