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    BALTIMORE, MD (March 27, 2012) – The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH), in partnership with the Maryland Higher Education Commission, is conducting a special recruitment for the Maryland Loan Assistance Repayment Program (LARP) for physicians. The LARP provides educational loan assistance repayment for primary care physicians who agree to provide health services in geographic areas of the state that are designated as physician shortage areas.
    “Having a sufficient supply of primary care physicians across the state is critical to improving the health status of Maryland citizens,” said Dr. Joshua M. Sharfstein, Secretary of DHMH. “Educational loan repayment programs can encourage primary care physicians to provide services in areas of Maryland that traditionally struggle to attract and retain physicians.”
    Since the start of the program in 1996, 157 primary care physicians have participated in the program. The majority of the participants have been in family medicine, internal medicine, and pediatrics. Currently, 30 physicians are participating in LARP and are employed in the following jurisdictions: Anne Arundel County, Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Garrett County, and Worcester County.
    Up to six additional primary care physicians will be accepted to participate in the 2012 LARP. The award cycle for physicians selected to participate for this special recruitment will begin in June 2012. The awards will be for two years and physicians accepted into the LARP will receive up to $50,000 in educational loan assistance repayment ($25,000 for each of the two years).
    To be eligible, physician employment sites must be located in one of the designated Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs) in the state. Eligible HPSAs include Primary Care HPSAs and Mental HPSAs. For detailed maps of areas in Maryland designated as HPSAs, please visit http://fha.dhmh.maryland.gov/ohpp/SitePages/publications.aspx#mdmaps.
    Primary care physicians under the LARP are considered to be: family practice, internal medicine, osteopathic general practice, obstetrics/gynecology, pediatrics, or general psychiatry. Preference will be given to applicants who will be beginning to practice in HPSAs and to applicants currently practicing part-time in HPSAs who will expand practice hours in a HPSA. Only psychiatrists are eligible to practice in Mental HPSAs.
    Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis through April 23, 2012. All required application materials must be received by this date. For more information, call 410-767-5046 or visit http://fha.dhmh.maryland.gov/ohpp/SitePages/pco-larpforms.aspx.