Loan Repayment Program for Repayment of Health Professions Educational Loans, 7765-7768 [2020-02617]

Download as PDF 7765 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 28 / Tuesday, February 11, 2020 / Notices ACTION: Notice. In compliance with the requirement of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, the Office of the Secretary (OS), Department of Health and Human Services, is publishing the following summary of a proposed collection for public comment. DATES: Comments on the ICR must be received on or before April 13, 2020. ADDRESSES: Submit your comments to Sherrette.Funn@hhs.gov or by calling (202) 795–7714. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: When submitting comments or requesting information, please include the document identifier 0955–New– 60D, and project title for reference, to Sherrette Funn, the Reports Clearance Officer, Sherrette.funn@hhs.gov, or call 202–795–7714. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Interested persons are invited to send comments regarding this burden estimate or any other aspect of this collection of information, including any of the following subjects: (1) The necessity and utility of the proposed information collection for the proper performance of SUMMARY: the agency’s functions; (2) the accuracy of the estimated burden; (3) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (4) the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology to minimize the information collection burden. Title of the Collection: US Core Data for Interoperability (USCDI) New Data Element Submission Form. Type of Collection: New. OMB No. 0955–NEW–ONC. Abstract: The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology is seeking the approval for a new information collection request item the ‘‘US Core Data for Interoperability (USCDI) New Data Element Submission Form.’’ The U.S. Core Data for Interoperability (USCDI) is a standardized set of health data classes and constituent data elements used to support nationwide, interoperable health information exchange. When published, the USCDI will become the required standard data elements set to which all health IT developers must conform to obtain ONC certification. This certification is required for participation in some federal healthcare payment plans. In order to insure the USCDI remains current and reflects the needs of the health IT community, ONC has established a predictable, transparent, and collaborative process to solicit broad stakeholder input to expand the USCDI. Anyone, including ONC staff, staff from other federal agencies, and other stakeholders may submit proposals for new data elements. These contributions will be in the form of public comments through our Health IT Advisory Committee (HITAC) as well as direct public contributions by proposing new data classes and data elements for addition to future versions of this health IT standard. The ONC will evaluate each submission in collaboration with the HITAC and upon approval by the National Coordinator for Health IT, new data classes and data elements from these submissions will be added to the newest version of the USCDI standard for integration into health information technology products such as electronic health records. The ONC is seeking approval to collect this information yearly from Health IT Stakeholders. ANNUALIZED BURDEN HOUR TABLE USCDI Submission ........................................................... HIT Stakeholder 100 1 20/60 33 Total ........................................................................... ........................... ........................ ........................ ........................ 33 [FR Doc. 2020–02698 Filed 2–10–20; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4150–45–P DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Indian Health Service Loan Repayment Program for Repayment of Health Professions Educational Loans khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with NOTICES Average burden per response Respondents (if necessary) Dated: February 6, 2020. Terry Clark, Office of the Secretary, Asst Paperwork Reduction Act Reports Clearance Officer. Announcement Type: Initial. CFDA Number: 93.164. Key Dates: February 15, 2020, first award cycle deadline date; August 15, 2020, last award cycle deadline date; September 15, 2020, last award cycle deadline date for supplemental loan repayment program funds; September 30, 2020, entry on duty deadline date. VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:19 Feb 10, 2020 Jkt 250001 Number of respondents Number of responses per respondents Forms (if necessary) I. Funding Opportunity Description The Indian Health Service (IHS) estimated budget for fiscal year (FY) 2020 includes $34,800,000 for the IHS Loan Repayment Program (LRP) for health professional educational loans (undergraduate and graduate) in return for full-time clinical service as defined in the IHS LRP policy at https:// www.ihs.gov/loanrepayment/ policiesandprocedures/ in Indian health programs. This notice is being published early to coincide with the recruitment activity of the IHS which competes with other Government and private health management organizations to employ qualified health professionals. This program is authorized by the Indian Health Care Improvement Act (IHCIA) Section 108, codified at 25 U.S.C. 1616a. II. Award Information The estimated amount available is approximately $22,405,000 to support approximately 492 competing awards PO 00000 Frm 00053 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Total burden hours averaging $45,565 per award for a twoyear contract. The estimated amount available is approximately $12,395,000 to support approximately 500 competing awards averaging $24,790 per award for a one-year extension. Oneyear contract extensions will receive priority consideration in any award cycle. Applicants selected for participation in the FY 2020 program cycle will be expected to begin their service period no later than September 30, 2020. III. Eligibility Information A. Eligible Applicants Pursuant to 25 U.S.C. 1616a(b), to be eligible to participate in the LRP, an individual must: (1)(A) Be enrolled— (i) In a course of study or program in an accredited institution, as determined by the Secretary, within any State and be scheduled to complete such course of study in the same year such individual applies to participate in such program; or E:\FR\FM\11FEN1.SGM 11FEN1 khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with NOTICES 7766 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 28 / Tuesday, February 11, 2020 / Notices (ii) In an approved graduate training program in a health profession; or (B) Have a degree in a health profession and a license to practice in a State; and (2)(A) Be eligible for, or hold an appointment as a commissioned officer in the Regular Corps of the Public Health Service (PHS); or (B) Be eligible for selection for service in the Regular Corps of the PHS; or (C) Meet the professional standards for civil service employment in the IHS; or (D) Be employed in an Indian health program without service obligation; and (3) Submit to the Secretary an application for a contract to the LRP. The Secretary must approve the contract before the disbursement of loan repayments can be made to the participant. Participants will be required to fulfill their contract service agreements through full-time clinical practice at an Indian health program site determined by the Secretary. Loan repayment sites are characterized by physical, cultural, and professional isolation, and have histories of frequent staff turnover. Indian health program sites are annually prioritized within the Agency by discipline, based on need or vacancy. The IHS LRP’s ranking system gives high site scores to those sites that are most in need of specific health professions. Awards are given to the applications that match the highest priorities until funds are no longer available. Any individual who owes an obligation for health professional service to the Federal Government, a State, or other entity, is not eligible for the LRP unless the obligation will be completely satisfied before they begin service under this program. 25 U.S.C. 1616a authorizes the IHS LRP and provides in pertinent part as follows: (a)(1) The Secretary, acting through the Service, shall establish a program to be known as the Indian Health Service Loan Repayment Program (hereinafter referred to as the Loan Repayment Program) in order to assure an adequate supply of trained health professionals necessary to maintain accreditation of, and provide health care services to Indians through, Indian health programs. For the purposes of this program, the term ‘‘Indian health program’’ is defined in 25 U.S.C. 1616a(a)(2)(A), as follows: (A) The term Indian health program means any health program or facility funded, in whole or in part, by the Service for the benefit of Indians and administered— (i) Directly by the Service; VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:19 Feb 10, 2020 Jkt 250001 (ii) By any Indian Tribe or Tribal or Indian organization pursuant to a contract under— (I) The Indian Self-Determination Act, or (II) Section 23 of the Act of April 30, 1908, (25 U.S.C. 47), popularly known as the Buy Indian Act; or (iii) By an urban Indian organization pursuant to Title V of [the Indian Health Care Improvement Act]. 25 U.S.C. 1616a, authorizes the IHS to determine specific health professions for which IHS LRP contracts will be awarded. Annually, the Director, Division of Health Professions Support, sends a letter to the Director, Office of Clinical and Preventive Services, IHS Area Directors, Tribal health officials, and Urban Indian health programs directors to request a list of positions for which there is a need or vacancy. The list of priority health professions that follows is based upon the needs of the IHS as well as upon the needs of American Indians and Alaska Natives. (a) Medicine—Allopathic and Osteopathic doctorate degrees. (b) Nursing—Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) (Clinical nurses only). (c) Nursing—Bachelor of Science (BSN) (Clinical nurses only). (d) Nursing (NP, DNP)—Nurse Practitioner/Advanced Practice Nurse in Family Practice, Psychiatry, Geriatric, Women’s Health, Pediatric Nursing. (e) Nursing—Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM). (f) Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA). (g) Physician Assistant (Certified). (h) Dentistry—DDS or DMD degrees. (i) Dental Hygiene. (j) Social Work—Independent Licensed Master’s degree. (k) Counseling—Master’s degree. (l) Clinical Psychology—Ph.D. or Psy.D. (m) Counseling Psychology—Ph.D. (n) Optometry—OD. (o) Pharmacy—PharmD. (p) Podiatry—DPM. (q) Physical/Occupational/Speech Language Therapy or Audiology—MS, Doctoral. (r) Registered Dietician—BS. (s) Clinical Laboratory Science—BS. (t) Diagnostic Radiology Technology, Ultrasonography, and Respiratory Therapy: Associate and B.S. (u) Environmental Health (Sanitarian): BS and Master’s level. (v) Engineering (Environmental): BS and MS (Engineers must provide environmental engineering services to be eligible.). (w) Chiropractors: Licensed. (x) Acupuncturists: Licensed. B. Cost Sharing or Matching Not applicable. PO 00000 Frm 00054 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 C. Other Requirements Interested individuals are reminded that the list of eligible health and allied health professions is effective for applicants for FY 2020. These priorities will remain in effect until superseded. IV. Application and Submission Information A. Content and Form of Application Submission Each applicant will be responsible for submitting a complete application. Go to http://www.ihs.gov/loanrepayment for more information on how to apply electronically. The application will be considered complete if the following documents are included: • Employment Verification— Documentation of your employment with an Indian health program as applicable: Æ Commissioned Corps orders, Tribal employment documentation or offer letter, or Notification of Personnel Action (SF–50)—For current Federal employees. • License to Practice—A photocopy of your current, non-temporary, full and unrestricted license to practice (issued by any State, Washington, DC, or Puerto Rico). • Loan Documentation—A copy of all current statements related to the loans submitted as part of the LRP application. • Transcripts—Transcripts do not need to be official. • If applicable, if you are a member of a federally recognized Tribe or an Alaska Native (recognized by the Secretary of the Interior), provide a certification of Tribal enrollment by the Secretary of the Interior, acting through the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) (Certification: Form BIA—4432 Category A—Members of federally Recognized Indian Tribes, Bands or Communities or Category D—Alaska Native). B. Submission Dates and Address Applications for the FY 2020 LRP will be accepted and evaluated monthly beginning February 15, 2020, and will continue to be accepted each month thereafter until all funds are exhausted for FY 2020 awards. Subsequent monthly deadline dates are scheduled for the fifteenth of each month until August 15, 2020. Applications shall be considered as meeting the deadline if they are either: (1) Received on or before the deadline date; or (2) Received after the deadline date, but with a legible postmark dated on or before the deadline date. (Applicants should request a legibly dated U.S. E:\FR\FM\11FEN1.SGM 11FEN1 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 28 / Tuesday, February 11, 2020 / Notices Postal Service postmark or obtain a legibly dated receipt from a commercial carrier or U.S. Postal Service. Private metered postmarks are not acceptable as proof of timely mailing). Applications submitted after the monthly closing date will be held for consideration in the next monthly funding cycle. Applicants who do not receive funding by September 30, 2019, will be notified in writing. Application documents should be sent to: IHS Loan Repayment Program, 5600 Fishers Lane, Mail Stop: OHR (11E53A), Rockville, Maryland 20857. C. Intergovernmental Review This program is not subject to review under Executive Order 12372. D. Funding Restrictions Not applicable. E. Other Submission Requirements New applicants are responsible for using the online application. Applicants requesting a contract extension must do so in writing by February 15, 2020, to ensure the highest possibility of being funded a contract extension. V. Application Review Information A. Criteria The IHS will utilize the Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA) score developed by the Health Resources and Services Administration for each Indian health program for which there is a need or vacancy. At each Indian health facility, the HPSA score for mental health will be utilized for all behavioral health professions, the HPSA score for dental health will be utilized for all dentistry and dental hygiene health professions, and the HPSA score for primary care will be used for all other approved health professions. In determining applications to be approved and contracts to accept, the IHS will give priority to applications made by American Indians and Alaska Natives and to individuals recruited through the efforts of Indian Tribes or Tribal or Indian organizations. khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with NOTICES B. Review and Selection Process Loan repayment awards will be made only to those individuals serving at facilities with have a site score of 17 or above through March 1, 2020, if funding is available. One or all of the following factors may be applicable to an applicant, and the applicant who has the most of these factors, all other criteria being equal, will be selected. VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:19 Feb 10, 2020 Jkt 250001 7767 (1) An applicant’s length of current employment in the IHS, Tribal, or Urban program. (2) Availability for service earlier than other applicants (first come, first served). (3) Date the individual’s application was received. or her obligated period of service may apply to extend his/her contract on a year-by-year basis, as determined by the IHS. Participants extending their contracts may receive up to the maximum amount of $20,000 per year plus an additional 20 percent for Federal withholding. C. Anticipated Announcement and Award Dates Not applicable. VII. Agency Contact Please address inquiries to Ms. Jacqueline K. Santiago, Chief, IHS Loan Repayment Program, 5600 Fishers Lane, Mail Stop: OHR (11E53A), Rockville, Maryland 20857, Telephone: 301/443– 3396 [between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. (Eastern Standard Time) Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays]. VI. Award Administration Information A. Award Notices Notice of awards will be mailed on the last working day of each month. Once the applicant is approved for participation in the LRP, the applicant will receive confirmation of his/her loan repayment award and the duty site at which he/she will serve his/her loan repayment obligation. B. Administrative and National Policy Requirements Applicants may sign contractual agreements with the Secretary for two years. The IHS may repay all, or a portion, of the applicant’s health profession educational loans (undergraduate and graduate) for tuition expenses and reasonable educational and living expenses in amounts up to $20,000 per year for each year of contracted service. Payments will be made annually to the participant for the purpose of repaying his/her outstanding health profession educational loans. Payment of health profession education loans will be made to the participant within 120 days, from the date the contract becomes effective. The effective date of the contract is calculated from the date it is signed by the Secretary or his/her delegate, or the IHS, Tribal, Urban, or Buy Indian health center entry-on-duty date, whichever is more recent. In addition to the loan payment, participants are provided tax assistance payments in an amount not less than 20 percent and not more than 39 percent of the participant’s total amount of loan repayments made for the taxable year involved. The loan repayments and the tax assistance payments are taxable income and will be reported to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The tax assistance payment will be paid to the IRS directly on the participant’s behalf. LRP award recipients should be aware that the IRS may place them in a higher tax bracket than they would otherwise have been prior to their award. C. Contract Extensions Any individual who enters this program and satisfactorily completes his PO 00000 Frm 00055 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 VIII. Other Information Indian Health Service area offices and service units that are financially able are authorized to provide additional funding to make awards to applicants in the LRP, but not to exceed the maximum allowable amount authorized by statute per year, plus tax assistance. All additional funding must be made in accordance with the priority system outlined below. Health professions given priority for selection above the $20,000 threshold are those identified as meeting the criteria in 25 U.S.C. 1616a(g)(2)(A), which provides that the Secretary shall consider the extent to which each such determination: (i) Affects the ability of the Secretary to maximize the number of contracts that can be provided under the LRP from the amounts appropriated for such contracts; (ii) Provides an incentive to serve in Indian health programs with the greatest shortages of health professionals; and (iii) Provides an incentive with respect to the health professional involved remaining in an Indian health program with such a health professional shortage, and continuing to provide primary health services, after the completion of the period of obligated service under the LRP. Contracts may be awarded to those who are available for service no later than September 30, 2020, and must be in compliance with 25 U.S.C. 1616a. In order to ensure compliance with the statutes, area offices or service units providing additional funding under this section are responsible for notifying the LRP of such payments before funding is offered to the LRP participant. Should an IHS area office contribute to the LRP, those funds will be used for only those sites located in that area. Those sites will retain their relative ranking from their Health Professions Shortage Areas (HPSA) scores. For E:\FR\FM\11FEN1.SGM 11FEN1 7768 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 28 / Tuesday, February 11, 2020 / Notices example, the Albuquerque Area Office identifies supplemental monies for dentists. Only the dental positions within the Albuquerque Area will be funded with the supplemental monies consistent with the HPSA scores within that area. Should an IHS service unit contribute to the LRP, those funds will be used for only those sites located in that service unit. Those sites will retain their relative ranking from their HPSA scores. Scholarship) authorized by Section 104 of the IHCIA, codified at 25 U.S.C. 1613a. Full-time and part-time scholarships will be funded for each of the three scholarship programs. The scholarship award selections and funding are subject to availability of funds. RADM Michael D. Weahkee, Assistant Surgeon General, U.S. Public Health Service, Principal Deputy Director, Indian Health Service. Estimated Funds Available An estimated $13.7 million will be available for fiscal year (FY) 2020 awards. The IHS Scholarship Program (IHSSP) anticipates, but cannot guarantee, student scholarship selections from any or all of the approved disciplines in the Preparatory Scholarship, Pre-graduate Scholarship, and Health Professions Scholarship programs for the scholarship period 2020–2021 academic year. Due to the rising cost of education and the decreasing number of scholars who can be funded by the IHSSP, the IHSSP previously changed the funding policy for Preparatory Scholarship and Pregraduate Scholarship awards and reallocated a greater percentage of its funding in an effort to increase the number of Health Professions Scholarship, and inherently the number of service-obligated scholars, to better meet the health care needs of the IHS and its Tribal and Urban Indian health care system partners. This policy continues in effect for 2020–2021 academic year. [FR Doc. 2020–02617 Filed 2–10–20; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4165–16–P DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Indian Health Service Indian Health Professions Preparatory, Indian Health Professions PreGraduate and Indian Health Professions Scholarship Programs Announcement Type: Initial. CFDA Numbers: 93.971, 93.123, and 93.972. khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with NOTICES Key Dates Application Deadline Date: February 28, 2020, 7:00 p.m. Eastern. Application Review Date: March 30– April 30, 2020. Continuation Award Notification Deadline Date: June 5, 2020. New Award Notification Deadline Date: July 15, 2020. Award Start Date: August 1, 2020. Acceptance/Decline of Awards Deadline Date: August 15, 2020. I. Funding Opportunity Description The Indian Health Service (IHS) is committed to encouraging American Indians and Alaska Natives to enter the health professions and to assuring the availability of Indian health professionals to serve Indians. The IHS is committed to the recruitment of students for the following programs: • The Indian Health Professions Preparatory Scholarship (Preparatory Scholarship) authorized by Section 103 of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act, Public Law 94–437 (1976), as amended (IHCIA), codified at 25 U.S.C. 1613(b)(1). • The Indian Health Professions Pregraduate Scholarship (Pre-graduate Scholarship) authorized by Section 103 of the IHCIA, codified at 25 U.S.C. 1613(b)(2). • The Indian Health Professions Scholarship (Health Professions VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:19 Feb 10, 2020 Jkt 250001 II. Award Information Type of Award Scholarship. Anticipated Number of Awards Approximately 25 new awards will be made by the IHSSP under the Preparatory Scholarship and Pregraduate Scholarship programs for Indians. The awards are for 10 months in duration, with an additional 2 months for approved summer school requests, and will cover both tuition and fees and other related costs (ORC). The average award to a full-time student in both programs is approximately $40,372.61. Approximately 100 new awards will be made by the IHSSP under the Health Professions Scholarship program. The awards are for 12 months in duration and will cover both tuition and fees and ORC. The average award to a full-time student is approximately $120,814.38. Approximately a total of 300 awards will be made under the IHSSP Scholarship Program for FY 2020–2021. Project Period The project period for the Preparatory Scholarship stipend support, tuition, PO 00000 Frm 00056 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 fees and ORC is limited to 2 years for full-time students and the part-time equivalent of 2 years, not to exceed 4 years for part-time students. The project period for the Pre-graduate Scholarship stipend support, tuition, fees and ORC is limited to 4 years for full-time students and the part-time equivalent of 4 years, not to exceed 8 years for parttime students. The Health Professions Scholarship provides stipend support, tuition, fees, and ORC and is limited to 4 years for full-time students and the part-time equivalent of 4 years, not to exceed 8 years for part-time students. III. Eligibility Information This is a limited competition announcement. New and continuation scholarship awards are limited to ‘‘Indians’’ as defined at 25 U.S.C. 1603(13). Note: The definition of ‘‘Indians’’ for Section 103 Preparatory Scholarship and Pre-graduate Scholarship is broader than the definition of ‘‘Indians’’ for the Section 104 Health Professions Scholarship, as specified below. Continuation awards are non-competitive. 1. Eligibility The Indian Health Professions Preparatory Scholarship awards are made to American Indians (members of Federally recognized Tribes, including those from Tribes terminated since 1940, first and second degree descendants of members of federally recognized Tribes, members of Staterecognized Tribes and first and second degree descendants of members of Staterecognized Tribes), or Eskimo, Aleut, and other Alaska Natives who: • Have successfully completed high school education or high school equivalency; and • Have been accepted for enrollment in a compensatory, pre-professional general education course or curriculum. The Indian Health Professions Pregraduate Scholarship awards are made to American Indians (members of Federally recognized Tribes, including those from Tribes terminated since 1940, first and second degree descendants of members of federally recognized Tribes, members of State recognized Tribes, and first and second degree descendants of members of Staterecognized Tribes), or Eskimo, Aleut, or other Alaska Natives who: • Have successfully completed high school education or high school equivalency; and • Have been accepted for enrollment or are enrolled in an accredited pregraduate program leading to a baccalaureate degree in pre-medicine or pre-dentistry. E:\FR\FM\11FEN1.SGM 11FEN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 85, Number 28 (Tuesday, February 11, 2020)]
[Notices]
[Pages 7765-7768]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2020-02617]


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DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES

Indian Health Service


Loan Repayment Program for Repayment of Health Professions 
Educational Loans

    Announcement Type: Initial.
    CFDA Number: 93.164.
    Key Dates: February 15, 2020, first award cycle deadline date; 
August 15, 2020, last award cycle deadline date; September 15, 2020, 
last award cycle deadline date for supplemental loan repayment program 
funds; September 30, 2020, entry on duty deadline date.

I. Funding Opportunity Description

    The Indian Health Service (IHS) estimated budget for fiscal year 
(FY) 2020 includes $34,800,000 for the IHS Loan Repayment Program (LRP) 
for health professional educational loans (undergraduate and graduate) 
in return for full-time clinical service as defined in the IHS LRP 
policy at https://www.ihs.gov/loanrepayment/policiesandprocedures/ in 
Indian health programs.
    This notice is being published early to coincide with the 
recruitment activity of the IHS which competes with other Government 
and private health management organizations to employ qualified health 
professionals.
    This program is authorized by the Indian Health Care Improvement 
Act (IHCIA) Section 108, codified at 25 U.S.C. 1616a.

II. Award Information

    The estimated amount available is approximately $22,405,000 to 
support approximately 492 competing awards averaging $45,565 per award 
for a two-year contract. The estimated amount available is 
approximately $12,395,000 to support approximately 500 competing awards 
averaging $24,790 per award for a one-year extension. One-year contract 
extensions will receive priority consideration in any award cycle. 
Applicants selected for participation in the FY 2020 program cycle will 
be expected to begin their service period no later than September 30, 
2020.

III. Eligibility Information

A. Eligible Applicants

    Pursuant to 25 U.S.C. 1616a(b), to be eligible to participate in 
the LRP, an individual must:
    (1)(A) Be enrolled--
    (i) In a course of study or program in an accredited institution, 
as determined by the Secretary, within any State and be scheduled to 
complete such course of study in the same year such individual applies 
to participate in such program; or

[[Page 7766]]

    (ii) In an approved graduate training program in a health 
profession; or
    (B) Have a degree in a health profession and a license to practice 
in a State; and
    (2)(A) Be eligible for, or hold an appointment as a commissioned 
officer in the Regular Corps of the Public Health Service (PHS); or
    (B) Be eligible for selection for service in the Regular Corps of 
the PHS; or
    (C) Meet the professional standards for civil service employment in 
the IHS; or
    (D) Be employed in an Indian health program without service 
obligation; and
    (3) Submit to the Secretary an application for a contract to the 
LRP. The Secretary must approve the contract before the disbursement of 
loan repayments can be made to the participant. Participants will be 
required to fulfill their contract service agreements through full-time 
clinical practice at an Indian health program site determined by the 
Secretary. Loan repayment sites are characterized by physical, 
cultural, and professional isolation, and have histories of frequent 
staff turnover. Indian health program sites are annually prioritized 
within the Agency by discipline, based on need or vacancy. The IHS 
LRP's ranking system gives high site scores to those sites that are 
most in need of specific health professions. Awards are given to the 
applications that match the highest priorities until funds are no 
longer available.
    Any individual who owes an obligation for health professional 
service to the Federal Government, a State, or other entity, is not 
eligible for the LRP unless the obligation will be completely satisfied 
before they begin service under this program.
    25 U.S.C. 1616a authorizes the IHS LRP and provides in pertinent 
part as follows:
    (a)(1) The Secretary, acting through the Service, shall establish a 
program to be known as the Indian Health Service Loan Repayment Program 
(hereinafter referred to as the Loan Repayment Program) in order to 
assure an adequate supply of trained health professionals necessary to 
maintain accreditation of, and provide health care services to Indians 
through, Indian health programs.
    For the purposes of this program, the term ``Indian health 
program'' is defined in 25 U.S.C. 1616a(a)(2)(A), as follows:
    (A) The term Indian health program means any health program or 
facility funded, in whole or in part, by the Service for the benefit of 
Indians and administered--
    (i) Directly by the Service;
    (ii) By any Indian Tribe or Tribal or Indian organization pursuant 
to a contract under--
    (I) The Indian Self-Determination Act, or
    (II) Section 23 of the Act of April 30, 1908, (25 U.S.C. 47), 
popularly known as the Buy Indian Act; or
    (iii) By an urban Indian organization pursuant to Title V of [the 
Indian Health Care Improvement Act].
    25 U.S.C. 1616a, authorizes the IHS to determine specific health 
professions for which IHS LRP contracts will be awarded. Annually, the 
Director, Division of Health Professions Support, sends a letter to the 
Director, Office of Clinical and Preventive Services, IHS Area 
Directors, Tribal health officials, and Urban Indian health programs 
directors to request a list of positions for which there is a need or 
vacancy. The list of priority health professions that follows is based 
upon the needs of the IHS as well as upon the needs of American Indians 
and Alaska Natives.
    (a) Medicine--Allopathic and Osteopathic doctorate degrees.
    (b) Nursing--Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) (Clinical nurses 
only).
    (c) Nursing--Bachelor of Science (BSN) (Clinical nurses only).
    (d) Nursing (NP, DNP)--Nurse Practitioner/Advanced Practice Nurse 
in Family Practice, Psychiatry, Geriatric, Women's Health, Pediatric 
Nursing.
    (e) Nursing--Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM).
    (f) Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA).
    (g) Physician Assistant (Certified).
    (h) Dentistry--DDS or DMD degrees.
    (i) Dental Hygiene.
    (j) Social Work--Independent Licensed Master's degree.
    (k) Counseling--Master's degree.
    (l) Clinical Psychology--Ph.D. or Psy.D.
    (m) Counseling Psychology--Ph.D.
    (n) Optometry--OD.
    (o) Pharmacy--PharmD.
    (p) Podiatry--DPM.
    (q) Physical/Occupational/Speech Language Therapy or Audiology--MS, 
Doctoral.
    (r) Registered Dietician--BS.
    (s) Clinical Laboratory Science--BS.
    (t) Diagnostic Radiology Technology, Ultrasonography, and 
Respiratory Therapy: Associate and B.S.
    (u) Environmental Health (Sanitarian): BS and Master's level.
    (v) Engineering (Environmental): BS and MS (Engineers must provide 
environmental engineering services to be eligible.).
    (w) Chiropractors: Licensed.
    (x) Acupuncturists: Licensed.

B. Cost Sharing or Matching

    Not applicable.

C. Other Requirements

    Interested individuals are reminded that the list of eligible 
health and allied health professions is effective for applicants for FY 
2020. These priorities will remain in effect until superseded.

IV. Application and Submission Information

A. Content and Form of Application Submission

    Each applicant will be responsible for submitting a complete 
application. Go to http://www.ihs.gov/loanrepayment for more 
information on how to apply electronically. The application will be 
considered complete if the following documents are included:
     Employment Verification--Documentation of your employment 
with an Indian health program as applicable:
    [cir] Commissioned Corps orders, Tribal employment documentation or 
offer letter, or Notification of Personnel Action (SF-50)--For current 
Federal employees.
     License to Practice--A photocopy of your current, non-
temporary, full and unrestricted license to practice (issued by any 
State, Washington, DC, or Puerto Rico).
     Loan Documentation--A copy of all current statements 
related to the loans submitted as part of the LRP application.
     Transcripts--Transcripts do not need to be official.
     If applicable, if you are a member of a federally 
recognized Tribe or an Alaska Native (recognized by the Secretary of 
the Interior), provide a certification of Tribal enrollment by the 
Secretary of the Interior, acting through the Bureau of Indian Affairs 
(BIA) (Certification: Form BIA--4432 Category A--Members of federally 
Recognized Indian Tribes, Bands or Communities or Category D--Alaska 
Native).

B. Submission Dates and Address

    Applications for the FY 2020 LRP will be accepted and evaluated 
monthly beginning February 15, 2020, and will continue to be accepted 
each month thereafter until all funds are exhausted for FY 2020 awards. 
Subsequent monthly deadline dates are scheduled for the fifteenth of 
each month until August 15, 2020.
    Applications shall be considered as meeting the deadline if they 
are either:
    (1) Received on or before the deadline date; or
    (2) Received after the deadline date, but with a legible postmark 
dated on or before the deadline date. (Applicants should request a 
legibly dated U.S.

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Postal Service postmark or obtain a legibly dated receipt from a 
commercial carrier or U.S. Postal Service. Private metered postmarks 
are not acceptable as proof of timely mailing).
    Applications submitted after the monthly closing date will be held 
for consideration in the next monthly funding cycle. Applicants who do 
not receive funding by September 30, 2019, will be notified in writing.
    Application documents should be sent to: IHS Loan Repayment 
Program, 5600 Fishers Lane, Mail Stop: OHR (11E53A), Rockville, 
Maryland 20857.

C. Intergovernmental Review

    This program is not subject to review under Executive Order 12372.

D. Funding Restrictions

    Not applicable.

E. Other Submission Requirements

    New applicants are responsible for using the online application. 
Applicants requesting a contract extension must do so in writing by 
February 15, 2020, to ensure the highest possibility of being funded a 
contract extension.

V. Application Review Information

A. Criteria

    The IHS will utilize the Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA) 
score developed by the Health Resources and Services Administration for 
each Indian health program for which there is a need or vacancy. At 
each Indian health facility, the HPSA score for mental health will be 
utilized for all behavioral health professions, the HPSA score for 
dental health will be utilized for all dentistry and dental hygiene 
health professions, and the HPSA score for primary care will be used 
for all other approved health professions.
    In determining applications to be approved and contracts to accept, 
the IHS will give priority to applications made by American Indians and 
Alaska Natives and to individuals recruited through the efforts of 
Indian Tribes or Tribal or Indian organizations.

B. Review and Selection Process

    Loan repayment awards will be made only to those individuals 
serving at facilities with have a site score of 17 or above through 
March 1, 2020, if funding is available.
    One or all of the following factors may be applicable to an 
applicant, and the applicant who has the most of these factors, all 
other criteria being equal, will be selected.
    (1) An applicant's length of current employment in the IHS, Tribal, 
or Urban program.
    (2) Availability for service earlier than other applicants (first 
come, first served).
    (3) Date the individual's application was received.

C. Anticipated Announcement and Award Dates

    Not applicable.

VI. Award Administration Information

A. Award Notices

    Notice of awards will be mailed on the last working day of each 
month. Once the applicant is approved for participation in the LRP, the 
applicant will receive confirmation of his/her loan repayment award and 
the duty site at which he/she will serve his/her loan repayment 
obligation.

B. Administrative and National Policy Requirements

    Applicants may sign contractual agreements with the Secretary for 
two years. The IHS may repay all, or a portion, of the applicant's 
health profession educational loans (undergraduate and graduate) for 
tuition expenses and reasonable educational and living expenses in 
amounts up to $20,000 per year for each year of contracted service. 
Payments will be made annually to the participant for the purpose of 
repaying his/her outstanding health profession educational loans. 
Payment of health profession education loans will be made to the 
participant within 120 days, from the date the contract becomes 
effective. The effective date of the contract is calculated from the 
date it is signed by the Secretary or his/her delegate, or the IHS, 
Tribal, Urban, or Buy Indian health center entry-on-duty date, 
whichever is more recent.
    In addition to the loan payment, participants are provided tax 
assistance payments in an amount not less than 20 percent and not more 
than 39 percent of the participant's total amount of loan repayments 
made for the taxable year involved. The loan repayments and the tax 
assistance payments are taxable income and will be reported to the 
Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The tax assistance payment will be paid 
to the IRS directly on the participant's behalf. LRP award recipients 
should be aware that the IRS may place them in a higher tax bracket 
than they would otherwise have been prior to their award.

C. Contract Extensions

    Any individual who enters this program and satisfactorily completes 
his or her obligated period of service may apply to extend his/her 
contract on a year-by-year basis, as determined by the IHS. 
Participants extending their contracts may receive up to the maximum 
amount of $20,000 per year plus an additional 20 percent for Federal 
withholding.

VII. Agency Contact

    Please address inquiries to Ms. Jacqueline K. Santiago, Chief, IHS 
Loan Repayment Program, 5600 Fishers Lane, Mail Stop: OHR (11E53A), 
Rockville, Maryland 20857, Telephone: 301/443-3396 [between 8:00 a.m. 
and 5:00 p.m. (Eastern Standard Time) Monday through Friday, except 
Federal holidays].

VIII. Other Information

    Indian Health Service area offices and service units that are 
financially able are authorized to provide additional funding to make 
awards to applicants in the LRP, but not to exceed the maximum 
allowable amount authorized by statute per year, plus tax assistance. 
All additional funding must be made in accordance with the priority 
system outlined below. Health professions given priority for selection 
above the $20,000 threshold are those identified as meeting the 
criteria in 25 U.S.C. 1616a(g)(2)(A), which provides that the Secretary 
shall consider the extent to which each such determination:
    (i) Affects the ability of the Secretary to maximize the number of 
contracts that can be provided under the LRP from the amounts 
appropriated for such contracts;
    (ii) Provides an incentive to serve in Indian health programs with 
the greatest shortages of health professionals; and
    (iii) Provides an incentive with respect to the health professional 
involved remaining in an Indian health program with such a health 
professional shortage, and continuing to provide primary health 
services, after the completion of the period of obligated service under 
the LRP.
    Contracts may be awarded to those who are available for service no 
later than September 30, 2020, and must be in compliance with 25 U.S.C. 
1616a. In order to ensure compliance with the statutes, area offices or 
service units providing additional funding under this section are 
responsible for notifying the LRP of such payments before funding is 
offered to the LRP participant.
    Should an IHS area office contribute to the LRP, those funds will 
be used for only those sites located in that area. Those sites will 
retain their relative ranking from their Health Professions Shortage 
Areas (HPSA) scores. For

[[Page 7768]]

example, the Albuquerque Area Office identifies supplemental monies for 
dentists. Only the dental positions within the Albuquerque Area will be 
funded with the supplemental monies consistent with the HPSA scores 
within that area.
    Should an IHS service unit contribute to the LRP, those funds will 
be used for only those sites located in that service unit. Those sites 
will retain their relative ranking from their HPSA scores.

RADM Michael D. Weahkee,
Assistant Surgeon General, U.S. Public Health Service, Principal Deputy 
Director, Indian Health Service.
[FR Doc. 2020-02617 Filed 2-10-20; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4165-16-P