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Memorial Medical Center earns designation as National Health Service Corps site


Wed, Nov 28th 2018 03:35 pm
Qualifying primary care clinicians may now apply for school loan repayments
Physicians and other qualifying clinicians who choose to provide primary care services at Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center will soon be eligible to apply to have their school loans repaid under a government program designed to promote healthier communities.
Memorial was approved this month as a National Health Service Corps site by the Health Resources & Services Administration, an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The National Health Service Corps (or NHSC) seeks to improve access to quality health care and services, especially to people with limited access to care because they are geographically isolated or economically vulnerable.
"America's medical system is facing a full-blown primary care medical crisis," said Memorial President and CEO Joseph A. Ruffolo. "To meet our nation's current needs would require almost 15,000 additional primary care doctors. When you factor in the effects of aging and population growth, the shortage will climb to almost 50,000 primary care physicians in another decade. And 50 percent - fully half - of all counties in the United States don't have a single obstetrician."
The local impact of those shortages is evident, Ruffolo added: "Older physicians are retiring while young doctors are choosing specialization over general practice, making it more difficult for us to recruit primary care physicians, obstetricians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners and other advanced practice medical professionals. Our designation as a National Health Service Corps site immediately makes us an extremely attractive choice for those practitioners by enabling federal funding for scholarships and education loan repayments for primary care doctors, obstetricians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants and medical students willing to make a commitment to our community."
NHSC loan repayment program participants must be health professionals in an eligible discipline, born or naturalized U.S. citizens or non-citizen U.S. nationals, trained and licensed to practice, and have qualified student loan debt for education that led to their degree.
If they qualify, they must agree to serve at least two years at an NHSC-approved service site such as Niagara Falls Memorial. Clinicians who already work at NHSC-approved sites may also be eligible.
Students who are pursuing a career in primary health care are eligible to receive a maximum of four years of funding for their education in exchange for a similar service commitment through the National Health Service Corps Scholarship program.
The program also gives Memorial, with nearly 1,200 employees, another tool in its role as a regional catalyst for workforce development.
"The National Health Service Corps designation provides a powerful incentive for medical students and primary care providers to practice here in Niagara," said Morgan Marotta, Memorial's director of physician and mid-level recruitment. "It also gives recent medical school graduates yet another reason to choose our primary care residency program. It would then be our hope that many of these primary care providers choose to remain here to serve the residents of our community long after completing their service commitments."

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