Physical therapists who practice in areas in which there are shortages of health care providers could become eligible for relief from student loan debt under legislation introduced in Congress by Reps Marion Berry (D-AR) and Jo Ann Emerson (R-MO). The Physical Therapist Student Loan Repayment Eligibility Act (HR 988) would amend the Public Health Service Act to make certain physical therapists eligible for student loan repayment assistance under the National Health Service Corps Loan Repayment Program.

"The bill helps encourage gifted graduates to practice in underserved areas where the need for these programs far surpasses the number of qualified specialists,” Berry says.

The National Health Service Corps Loan Repayment Program currently includes primary care physicians, dentists, nurse midwives, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and mental behavioral health professionals practicing in health shortage areas.

A Senate companion bill is expected to be introduced in the next several weeks.

[Source: American Physical Therapy Association]