The Hawaii State Loan Repayment Program
The Hawaii State Loan Repayment Program (HSLRP) is a federal grant to pay off educational loans for primary care and behavioral health providers who care for patients at non-profit organizations in designated Health Professional Shortage Areas of Hawaii. It is designed to incentivize care in the areas of Hawaii where it is most needed.
Physicians (allopathic/osteopathic); nurse practitioners; certified nurse-midwives; physician’s assistants, Health Service Psychologists, Licensed Clinical Social Workers, Licensed Professional Counselors, and Marriage and Family Therapists are all eligible to receive State Loan Repayment support. Physician specialties include: family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, obstetrics/gynecology, geriatrics, or psychiatry. Nurse practitioners and physician assistant’s specialties: adult, family, pediatrics, psychiatry/mental health, geriatrics, or women’s health.
A 2 year commitment of service at HSLRP sites is required. HSLRP sites are public or non-profit private entities located in and providing health services in health professional shortage areas, known as HPSA’s. HPSA’s are defined by the federal government as having shortages of primary medical care, dental or mental health providers and may be geographic, demographic or institutional. These areas include federally-qualified health centers, rural health clinics, critical access hospitals, long-term care facilities, community outpatient facilities, free clinics, school based health clinics, state or federal correctional facilities and solo or group practices.
To learn more about HPSA’s, visit: http://hpsafind.hrsa.gov/
HSLRP sites or other donors will have to provide matching funds equal to half of the award. Please see the application for more details. We rely on community partners and residents to make this program possible. If you would like to help, please click the button below.
Once I had finished residency, I had many worries as a newly practicing physician. Had residency prepared me enough for the real world of medicine? Should I move to the mainland to be closer to friends and family? Or should stay in Hawaii, since it had become my home for the past 3 years? But, the biggest worry was…How am I going to pay back my student loans? It was like a giant gorilla on my back. I took a chance and decided to stay at Waikiki Health because I had virtually grown up in that clinic; both as a physician and as a person. I couldn’t think of anywhere else I wanted to work. It was a difficult decision for me because I missed my friends and family. I was not able to see them as often as I wanted. The other difficulty, was financial difficulty. It is expensive to live in Hawaii, even for someone like me who is unmarried and without kids.
Not too long after I had started practicing, my chief executive officer pulled me aside one day. She let me know about a state loan repayment program that was just about to start up. I had already applied for the National Health Services Corp loan repayment program and had been rejected because our clinic at that time was judged to be not in a high enough need area. I cannot stress how worried when I got the rejection notice. I racked my brain trying to think of ways to save extra money so I can pay back my almost $300,000 in loans. So I applied for the SLRP, with no hope of qualifying. But, luckily I was able to qualify. It has truly made all the difference. I have no doubt that because of the burden of student loans, I would have been forced to move to a less expensive city/state in a year or two.
What the SLRP allowed me to do was to live my life where I wanted, and to work where I wanted. That is something priceless. I know that there are many young physicians and providers that are in the same exact position I was just a couple of years ago. I hope that the SLRP continues so that they can have the same opportunity that I received. To live and work where they want to, not where they have to.