DHHS’ Office of Rural Health Seeks Input on Loan Repayment and Incentive Programs to Aid Underserved Areas


The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Rural Health is hosting six meetings across the state to gather stakeholder input regarding the J-1 Visa Waiver program and NC’s Loan Repayment and Incentive Programs under N.C. General Assembly Session Law HB 998. The meetings are open to the public and are intended to gather feedback about current processes and possible program modifications to help ensure maximum benefits to rural North Carolina communities. 
North Carolina has a shortage of primary health care providers, particularly in the state’s rural areas. The Office of Rural Health leads or is involved in several approaches to help place health care professionals in underserved communities. The J-1 Visa Waiver program helps place foreign medical graduates with eligible provider organizations, and the Loan Repayment and Incentive Programs provide financial incentives for certain types of health professionals in underserved areas.
"The health of our rural communities is imperative to their overall economic vitality and sustainability," said Maggie Sauer, Director of the Office of Rural Health. "We are fortunate that North Carolina participates in a variety of programs to incentivize, recruit and retain health care providers in our most rural communities. We are anxious to hear from the citizens in rural North Carolina as we review these programs and help us shape them to ensure maximum impact.”
Attendance is welcome to any or multiple meetings regardless of location. ORH staff will review key priorities and requirements for each program and collect stakeholder input at meetings scheduled for the following six locations and dates: 

  • Feb. 1, 8:30 a.m.–noon, N.C. Medical Society Auditorium, Raleigh
  • Feb. 22, 1–4:30 p.m., Pender Memorial Hospital Education Room, Burgaw
  • March 12, 1–4:30 p.m., Northwest Area Health Education Center, Winston-Salem
  • March 14, 1–4:30 p.m., College of the Albemarle John Wood Foreman Technology Center, Elizabeth City
  • March 28, 1–4:30 p.m., Atrium Health Anson Community Room, Wadesboro
  • April 4, 1–4:30 p.m., Madison County N.C. Cooperative Extension, Marshall 

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