Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 32.1. Health
Chapter 4. Health Care Planning
11/28/2020

§ 32.1-122.6. Conditional grants for certain medical students.

A. With such funds as are appropriated for this purpose, the Board of Health shall establish annual medical scholarships for students who intend to enter the designated specialties of family practice medicine, general internal medicine, pediatrics, and obstetrics/gynecology and who are in good standing at a medical school in the United States that has received accreditation or provisional accreditation from the Liaison Committee on Medical Education or the Bureau of Professional Education of the American Osteopathic Association. No recipient shall be awarded more than five scholarships. The amount and number of such scholarships shall be determined annually as provided in the appropriation act. The Commissioner shall act as fiscal agent for the Board in administration of the scholarship funds.

B. The Board shall promulgate regulations to administer this scholarship program that shall include:

1. Qualifications of applicants;

2. Criteria for award of the scholarships to assure that recipients will fulfill the practice obligations established in this section;

3. Standards to assure that these scholarships increase access to primary health care for individuals who are indigent or who are recipients of public assistance;

4. Assurances that bona fide residents of Virginia, as determined by § 23.1-502, students of economically disadvantaged backgrounds and residents of medically underserved areas are given preference over nonresidents in determining scholarship eligibility and awards;

5. Assurances that scholarship recipients will begin medical practice in one of the designated specialties in an underserved area of the Commonwealth within two years following completion of their residencies;

6. Methods for reimbursement of the Commonwealth by recipients who fail to complete medical school or who fail to honor the obligation to engage in medical practice for a period of years equal to the number of annual scholarships received;

7. Procedures for reimbursing any recipient who has repaid the Commonwealth for part or all of any scholarship and who later fulfills the terms of his contract; and

8. Reporting of data related to the recipients of the scholarships by the medical schools.

C. Prior to the award of any scholarship, the applicant shall sign a contract in which he agrees to engage continuously in one of the designated specialties of medical practice in an underserved area in Virginia for a period of years equal to the number of annual scholarships received. The contract shall specify that no form of medical practice such as military service or public health service may be substituted for the obligation to practice in one of the designated specialties in an underserved area in the Commonwealth.

The contract shall provide that the applicant will not voluntarily obligate himself for more than the minimum period of military service required for physicians by the laws of the United States and that, upon completion of this minimum period of obligatory military service, the applicant will promptly begin to practice in an underserved area in one of the designated specialties for the requisite number of years. The contract shall include other provisions as considered necessary by the Attorney General and the Commissioner.

The contract may be terminated by the recipient while the recipient is enrolled in medical school upon providing notice and immediate repayment of the total amount of scholarship funds received plus interest at the prevailing bank rate for similar amounts of unsecured debt.

D. In the event the recipient fails to maintain a satisfactory scholastic standing, the recipient may, upon certification of the Commissioner, be relieved of the obligations under the contract to engage in medical practice in an underserved area upon repayment to the Commonwealth of the total amount of scholarship funds received plus interest at the prevailing bank rate for similar amounts of unsecured debt.

E. In the event the recipient dies or becomes permanently disabled so as not to be able to engage in the practice of medicine, the recipient or his estate may, upon certification of the Commissioner, be relieved of the obligation under the contract to engage in medical practice in an underserved area upon repayment to the Commonwealth of the total amount of scholarship funds plus interest on such amount computed at eight percent per annum from the date of receipt of scholarship funds. This obligation may be waived in whole or in part by the Commissioner in his discretion upon application by the recipient or his estate to the Commissioner with proof of hardship or inability to pay.

F. Except as provided in subsections D and E, any recipient of a scholarship who fails or refuses to fulfill his obligation to practice medicine in one of the designated specialties in an underserved area for a period of years equal to the number of annual scholarships received shall reimburse the Commonwealth three times the total amount of the scholarship funds received plus interest at the prevailing bank rate for similar amounts of unsecured debt. If the recipient has fulfilled part of his contractual obligations by serving in an underserved area in one of the designated specialties, the total amount of the scholarship funds received shall be reduced by the amount of the annual scholarship multiplied by the number of years served.

G. The Commissioner shall collect all repayments required by this section and may establish a schedule of payments for reimbursement consistent with the regulations of the Board. No schedule of payments shall amortize the total amount due for a period of longer than two years following the completion of the recipient's postgraduate training or the recipient's entrance into the full-time practice of medicine, whichever is later. All such funds, including any interest thereon, shall be used only for the purposes of this section and shall not revert to the general fund. If any recipient fails to make any payment when and as due, the Commissioner shall notify the Attorney General. The Attorney General shall take such action as he deems proper. In the event court action is required to collect a delinquent scholarship account, the recipient shall be responsible for the court costs and reasonable attorney fees incurred by the Commonwealth in such collection.

H. For purposes of this section, the term "underserved area" includes those medically underserved areas designated by the Board pursuant to § 32.1-122.5 and health professional shortage areas designated in accordance with the criteria established in 42 C.F.R. Part 5.

1990, cc. 874, 877; 1991, c. 134; 1994, cc. 281, 867; 2000, c. 926; 2001, c. 188; 2002, cc. 87, 478; 2015, c. 532.

The chapters of the acts of assembly referenced in the historical citation at the end of this section may not constitute a comprehensive list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired.