PROVIDENCE – The Rhode Island Foundation was awarded a $350,000 grant from Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island for a physician loan forgiveness program.
The Rhode Island Educational Loan Repayment Program for Primary Care Providers was established in 2009 with a $600,000 grant from the Rhode Island Foundation for physician assistants and nurse practitioners and a $500,000 grant from Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island for physicians. In 2011, UnitedHealthcare of New England provided an additional $250,000 to the fund.
The loan repayment program, which was designed to draw primary care providers to the Ocean State, provides up to $80,000 over four years for doctors who practice in Rhode Island and up to $40,000 over the same period for nurse practitioners and physician assistants.
“We are grateful to [Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island] for its continued support of the loan forgiveness program and its faith in the Rhode Island Foundation,” Rhode Island Foundation President and CEO Neil D. Steinberg said in prepared remarks.
“The need for primary care providers has been well-documented in recent years. We know that effective primary care is a key ingredient in preventing chronic illness and lowering our nation’s staggering health care costs,” he added. “Through this program, we encourage current primary care providers to come to Rhode Island to practice.”
The program is a part of the Rhode Island Foundation’s Fund for a Healthy Rhode Island, which was established in 2008. Loans are administered through the Rhode Island Student Loan Authority.
“The loan forgiveness program is just one example of BCBSRI’s commitment to providing access to affordable, high-quality health care,” said Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island CEO Peter Andruszkiewicz. “Investing in this program means we are investing in the future medical leaders of our state, as well as the health of the residents of Rhode Island.”
To date, eight primary care physicians have taken part in the loan forgiveness program.