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Loan repayment program helps communities short on health care providers

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The Colorado Health Service Corps recently awarded $2.6 million in student loan repayment funds to 50 new health care professionals who will, in exchange, practice in some of Colorado's most medically underserved communities for the next three years.

Recipients included Rebecca Benzel, LPC, and Debra Taylor, LPC, both with the Center for Mental Health in Delta.

The state health department oversees the Colorado Health Service Corps in its effort to recruit and retain health care professionals for those communities with the greatest need. Primary care physicians, psychiatrists and general dentists may be eligible for educational loan debt forgiveness of as much as $90,000. Physician assistants, advanced practice nurses and licensed mental health professionals may be eligible for as much as $50,000, and dental hygienists may receive as much as $20,000.

The corps is accepting new applications for the program until Sept. 30. To participate, health care professionals must be employed in an outpatient primary care practice in an area of Colorado with a health professional shortage area designation. For more information, go to Colorado Health Service Corps.

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