SENATE HIGHER EDUCATION COMMITTEE

 

STATEMENT TO

 

SENATE, No. 2331

 

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

 

DATED: †JUNE 20, 2016

 

††††† The Senate Higher Education Committee reports favorably Senate Bill No. 2331.

†††† This bill establishes a tuition reimbursement program for psychiatrists to address a shortage of mental health care access in certain areas of the State.

†††† Under the bill, the Commissioner of Health will designate, on the basis of health status and economic indicators, geographic areas of the State which have a shortage of physicians in the specialty of psychiatry.† The program will provide reimbursement of a portion of medical school tuition expenses to psychiatrists who agree to provide mental health care services in one of these State underserved areas for a period of one to four years.† Program participants must: (1) be State residents; (2) be State-licensed physicians who have completed all educational and residency training requirements for the practice of psychiatry; and (3) apply for the program within one year of completing an accredited residency program in psychiatry.

†††† Program participants will enter into a contract with the Higher Education Student Assistance Authority (HESAA) for a specified number of one-year periods of service, up to four years, in which the participant agrees to engage in the full-time practice of psychiatry in a State underserved area.† In return for this commitment, a portion of the participantís tuition expenses in attending medical school will be reimbursed.† Tuition reimbursement will equal 25 percent of the participantís eligible tuition expenses for the one academic year of medical school attendance in which tuition was the lowest, in return for each full year of service under the program.† The maximum total tuition reimbursement for a participant for four years of service will be 100 percent of the participantís eligible tuition expenses for the one academic year of medical school attendance in which tuition was the lowest.

†††† Under the bill, participants in the program will be required to adhere to certain terms and standards, including charging for professional services at the usual and customary rates, allowing patients who are unable to pay that charge to pay a reduced rate or receive care at no charge, and not discriminating against any patient on the basis of ability to pay.† Participants will also be required to maintain their State residency and medical license, remain current with payments on any student loans, maintain satisfactory performance of services, and report to HESAA on the performance of services rendered prior to receiving tuition reimbursement.