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California Offers Student Debt Relief for Doctors and Dentists Serving Medicaid Patients (NY Times, LA Times, Sacramento Bee)

July 25, 2019

California is providing debt relief for doctors and dentists who agree to accept Medi-Cal. The grant has lifted “an emotional burden,” one recipient said in The New York Times, adding, “I can focus on my patients.”

Healthforce Center faculty member Janet Coffman was cited in the New York Times article: "The loan repayment plan is notable because it provides more generous funding to a larger number of doctors than similar programs, said Janet M. Coffman, a professor of health policy at the University of California, San Francisco."

As The Los Angeles Times reported, "California’s program is aimed at increasing the number of doctors who see Medi-Cal patients in a state experiencing a shortage of healthcare providers." Although the program doesn't fix California's doctor and dentist shortage, it adds some needed relief.

"Many more doctors will need to be trained in California if the state wants to meet the healthcare needs of residents, said Janet Coffman, a professor at Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies at UC San Francisco."

The Sacramento Bee focused on debt relief for dentists in California, where only one-third of the state's licensed dentists take some MediCal dental patients in their practice. 

"Janet Coffman... said loan repayment programs provide recipients with a longer runway that allows many to figure out how they can make their finances work while continuing to serve the economically disadvantaged people whom they got into medicine to help. The longer anyone stays in an area, she said, they make connections, have families and put down other roots that make it tougher to leave."