The AAMC submitted comments to the Department of Education on Sept. 23 in response to its recent request for information regarding the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program.
The comments noted, "The PSLF program is an essential tool for nonprofit and government facilities to recruit and retain physicians, enhancing the distribution of our nation's physician workforce to help care for patients in rural and other underserved communities – often those hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic."
"Physicians and medical residents at nonprofit teaching hospitals care for the nation's most vulnerable patients (including Medicare and Medicaid patients); provide essential patient care services, such as neonatal intensive care units, burn units, and trauma centers, and a variety of services offered only at teaching hospitals; and deliver charity care to patients who cannot afford it," the association added.
The AAMC highlighted several ways to strengthen the PSLF program for physicians, including:
- Allowing PSLF eligibility to all physicians who practice at nonprofit hospitals or health care facilities but are prohibited by state law from being employed directly by their facility.
- Assuring borrowers who have already indicated an interest in the program that they will continue to be eligible for forgiveness even if Congress changes the current program.
- Combining the annual income verification process for an income-driven repayment plan with the PSLF certification.
- Guaranteeing that borrowers' nonpayment months during the COVID-19 administrative forbearance period are appropriately counted toward progress in the PSLF program.
- Ensuring that all servicers consistently assist and educate borrowers interested in the PSLF program, regardless of whether the borrower's current servicer is the PSLF servicer selected by the department.