Secrets of the Job Hunt


Thursday, July 02, 2009

Louisiana Jobs Supported by Healthcare Initiative

A national effort is underway that could lead to more healthcare workers finding jobs in Louisiana.

The federal government recently announced that it plans to expand investments in pay incentives for doctors and other healthcare professionals to work in Health Professional Shortage Areas throughout the country, including those in Louisiana.

A $200 million initiative by the National Health Service Corps Loan Repayment Program will provide up to $50,000 in tax-free incentive payments to healthcare workers who agree to provide their services for at least two years in areas experiencing healthcare shortages.

Currently there are 170 job openings at National Health Service Corps community sites throughout Louisiana that need to be filled. The NHSC recruits trained workers who agree to provide healthcare services in under-served areas. The program then helps those workers repay educational loans.

Applications are currently being accepted for physicians, nurse practitioners, midwives, physician assistants, dentists, dental hygienists, psychologists, licensed clinical social workers, psychiatric nurse specialists, marriage and family therapists and licensed professional counselors.

“Many Louisianans struggle with access to health care services,” Alan Levine, secretary of the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals, said. “Of the 64 parishes in our state, 53 of them are entirely designated as shortage areas for primary care providers and 10 others are partial shortage areas. This means that 63 of 64 parishes don’t have enough primary care providers.”

On top of that, 60 parishes don't have enough mental health providers and 58 parishes don't have enough dental health care professionals. Of the healthcare providers in the state, 53 are currently participating in the NHSC Loan Repayment Program.

In order to be accepted, applicants must work at an NHSC community site; participate in Medicaid, Medicare and state children's health insurance programs; accept all patients regardless of ability to pay; and commit to two years of full-time outpatient clinic service.

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