Legal advocacy group petitions to ease fines for healthcare workers in student-debt programs

Student Defense, a legal advocacy group, filed a federal petition calling on HHS to address the financial penalties it is assessing on some medical professionals who participate in the National Health Service Corps loan repayment program, according to an Aug. 8 report in The Wall Street Journal.

The Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit filed a petition on behalf of three women who collectively face $472,000 in penalties from the Service Corps. The petition seeks a rule change that would automatically waive the penalties for healthcare workers terminated by their clinics through no fault of their own and unable to find similar employment within an hour of their home. 

"The Department not only hurts Program participants who could not complete their service obligations due to circumstances beyond their control, but also deters future participation by healthcare professionals who have heard of and fear injustice from an unyielding government agency," the petition said. 

Congress authorized the Service Corps in 1980, and in 1987 added a loan-assistance program and granted the health secretary authority to determine whether someone is eligible for a waiver, which would permanently excuse a participant from their obligations.

Copyright © 2023 Becker's Healthcare. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy. Cookie Policy. Linking and Reprinting Policy.


Featured Whitepapers

Featured Webinars