The Physicians for Rural Areas Assistance Program pays medical education student loan debt for physicians who agree to practice medicine full time in a rural county in Georgia. The program provides up to $25,000 a year in student loan repayment in return for a 12-month commitment to practice in a rural county. Recipients may receive a maximum of four loans and a maximum total student loan repayment of $100,000.
The Physicians for Rural Areas Assistance Contract requires a commitment to practice medicine a minimum of 40 clinical hours per week in a Georgia County with a population of 35,000 or fewer people according to the 2010 Census Count of the United States Bureau of the Census. The practice time requirement can be split between two or more counties, provided that none of the practice location counties exceeds the 35,000 population limit.
The physician may own the practice or the physician may be employed by a hospital, group medical practice, community health center, or other health care organization. There is no requirement that the practice be a not for profit organization. However, the physician must participate in the Medicaid program and must agree to accept new patients insured by Medicaid and actively treat Medicaid patients.
The Board will consider data published in its most recent Physician Profile in determining the relative need for physicians in specific rural areas. The Board will then establish a ranking of locations in the applicant pool. Selection priority will be given to those applicants who are physicians specializing in and actively practicing specialties as approved by the Board at its Annual Meeting.
All recipients are required to sign a contract with the Georgia Board for Physician Workforce agreeing to the terms and conditions upon which awards are granted. This contract establishes the amount of the award, the location of service repayment, the contract date (also the beginning and end date of service), as well as the terms and conditions of program participation, obligated service and the conditions of default and cash repayment.