FAQ - May 2008

For answers, please click on the questions below.  You may also scroll down to see both questions and answer together.

      

  
 

                  


Q: How do you determine where I practice?
A: You determine where you practice. One of the major factors to determine who receives an award is which applicants are practicing in the counties/areas with the greatest need for their given profession.
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Q: What counties have the greatest need for physicians?
A: Need changes rapidly. County need is determined using the Wyoming Healthcare Commission’s report.  Counties identified as having less than one physician per 1,000 population (1:1,000)are: Big Horn, Carbon, Crook, Niobrara, Platte, Sublette, Washakie, and Weston.  The Wyoming average is 1.94:1,000.  The Office of Rural Health may use additional data, but this is a good starting point for applicants considering new employment opportunities.
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Q: What are the counties with the least need?
A: Because this can also change rapidly, the Office of Rural Health does not deter applicants from any location or specialty. All counties and cities are currently eligible for awards. Again, applicants can reference the Wyoming Healthcare Commission Report. Counties identified as having two or more physicians per 1,000 populaiton (2:1,000) are: Fremont, Laramie, Natrona, Park, Sheridan, and Teton.  The Wyoming average is 1.94:1,000.  Counties with the best provider to population ratios will score lower than counties with the remaining counties.    
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Q: What counties have the greatest need for Allied Healthcare Professionals?
A:   To determine priority of need, the Office of Rural consults with ‘stakeholders’ from each of the over 20 professions to prioritize needs.  The Office of Rural Health recommends you contact your Wyoming professional organization to inquire about areas in Wyoming in greatest need for your profession.   
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Q: What are my chances of getting an award?
A: Variables such as budget, number of applicants, county need, and specialties of applicants impact each individual applicant’s chances.
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Q: What if loans are consolidated?
A: If you are selected, you must obtain a breakdown of your loan institution that reflects the current status of your education loans.
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Q: I have not yet graduated, can I apply?
A: Yes, but you must be within one year of licensure and you must furnish your projected graduation and licensure date. 
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Q: I have been licensed and practicing in Wyoming for several years.  Am I still eligible?

A: Yes.  There currently is not a limit on the number of years practicing in Wyoming for eleigibility in this program.

                       


Q: How long before I know if I’m accepted?
A: The Office of Rural Health will post targeted award dates on this website at the beginning of each cycle. 
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Q: Where do I send my application documents?
A: The application must be submitted on-line. If you don’t have access to a computer, contact the Office of Rural Health.
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Q: Are awards automatic or competitive?
A: Competitive. We will select the best candidates, filling the greatest need of the citizens of Wyoming in each of the award categories.  

The Office of Rural Health received 259 applications in 2008 and awarded 34 applicants. 
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Q: I am currently participating in another loan repayment program, am I still eligible for this award?
A: Participating in another loan repayment program, which has a service commitment at a specific geographic location, precludes the Office of Rural Health from considering you for this award. The National Health Service Corps (NHSC) specifically prohibits participation in another loan repayment program.  Check your contract with to see if your specific loan repayor prohibits participation in another program.  If you have a Perkins Loan, that portion of your medical education debt is not eligible for inclusion in this program. New for 2008, WWAMI and WYiN participants are eligible for this program for the education debt not covered by those two programs.
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Q: I was previously awarded a Wyoming Healthcare Professional Loan Repayment award but I still have considerable debt. Can I apply again
?
A: Yes, once your contract is completed, you may apply again.
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Q: I’m working part-time. Can I get a pro-rated award for the number of hours I work?
A: No.  Due to the number of full-time professionals applying from  counties and professions of greatest need who can't be funded, you must work full time in your field. 

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Q: What are the selection criteria?
A: County need for medical professionals, county provider/population ratio, location’s need for the applicant’s profession, and Length of service in Wyoming at your current level of education and licensure. By statute, priority will be given to qualified graduates of the University of Wyoming or a Wyoming community college.
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Q:
Is all the debt I incurred during college covered by this program?
A: No. Only “debt the provider acquired as a direct result of undergraduate or postgraduate educational training directly related to providing medical services,” not to exceed $90,000 for physicians and dentists, and $30,000 for allied healthcare professionals is considered under this program.
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Q: Is the Loan Repayment taxable?
A: Payments from this program recieved by a participant after December 31, 2008 are no longer taxable. 

SEC. 10908. EXCLUSION FOR ASSISTANCE PROVIDED TO PARTICIPANTS IN STATE STUDENT LOAN REPAYMENT PROGRAMS FOR

CERTAIN HEALTH PROFESSIONALS.

(a) IN GENERAL.—Paragraph (4) of section 108(f) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 is amended to read as follows:

‘‘(4) PAYMENTS UNDER NATIONAL HEALTH SERVICE CORPS LOAN REPAYMENT PROGRAM AND CERTAIN STATE LOAN REPAYMENT PROGRAMS.—In the case of an individual, gross income shall not include any amount received under section 338B(g) of the Public Health Service Act, under a State program described in section 338I of such Act, or under any other State loan repayment or loan forgiveness program that is intended to provide for the increased availability of health care services in underserved or health professional shortage areas (as determined by such State).’’

(b) EFFECTIVE DATE.—The amendment made by this section shall apply to amounts received by an individual in taxable years beginning after December 31, 2008.

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Q: Who can I talk to about job openings?
A: For Physicians, the Wyoming Health Resources Network (www.whrn.org) is a good place to start. Also, you can often get good information from people working in your profession in the state and from your professional association in Wyoming. The Office of Rural Health does not track job openings.
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Q: I was awarded when the community matching funds were required, does my match site still have to supply the matching funds?
A: Yes, the legislation that removed the community matching funds requirement did not allow for changing existing contracts.
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