Pennsylvania Doctor Trap Number Two Proposed
Posted by Clark Venable on 6/10/2007
Pennsylvania has chosen an interesting strategy to keep doctors from leaving the state. Rather than fix the current jackpot medical malpractice system they've decided to try to trap doctors that are already here.
The first example of this was something called the MCARE abatement program. The Medical Care Availability and Reduction of Error (MCARE) Act replaced an existing catastrophic coverage fund with a new fund to cover awards which exceeded the primary coverage provided by professional liability policies. Each physician must pay into the fund a percentage of their primary premium to sustain the fund.
The MCARE abatement program (or Health Care Provider Retention Program) provides some financial relief from paying premiums to the fund. How much relief a physician gets depends on the practitioners specialty. And here we come to trap number one. If you accept the abatement, you agree to practice in the state for the year in which you receive the abatement AND the next year. If you leave early, you have to pay back the full amount of the abatement.
The legislature is now working on trap number two--a physician loan forgiveness program. For a period of ten years, for every year a physician practices in Pennsylvania after completing training the state will pay off ten percent of their student loan debt. If they leave early (say, after five years), they have to pay the state back ALL of the money the state paid toward their loans.
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