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New program is Delaware's latest step to draw primary care providers


A program helping Delaware compete with other states when it comes to  attracting and keeping medical care professionals to practice here is ready to go.


A bill signed by Gov. Carney this week establishes a Health Care Provider Loan Repayment Program for new primary care providers.

The program, run by the Delaware Health Care Commission, will offer education loan repayment grants to new primary care providers.  Those grants can be as large as $50,000 per year for a maximum of four years.

State Rep. David Bentz sponsored the bill.

"We were unfortunately kind of positioning ourselves at a competitive disadvantage in Delaware because so many states had something like this to be able to attract primary care physicians and Delaware did not. And we have this great program in DIMER that you know because we don't have a medical school in Delaware we end up trying to find places for Delaware students who want to be medical students to go elsewhere and want to be able to have some carrots to either bring those students back or attract medical students from other states."

Bentz says the program is a joint effort.

"It's not only the state putting up resources and putting up money to help fund this, but we also have partnerships with some insurance providers in Delaware and of course our health systems and state health systems who have agreed to help fund this as well. So it's a public-private partnership if you will a lot of people recognizing the need for this and the need to entice more people to set up shop here and to provide critical primary care services in Delaware."

The law also provides that the Delaware Health Care Commission may award health care provider repayment grants on a prorated annual basis. 

Bentz notes this law is the latest effort focused on bringing the best medical care to Delaware residents.  

Delaware saw a 10 percent drop in primary care providers between 2008 and 2018, and state officials expect that downward trend is not slowing.

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