An amendment filed recently to the Senate’s health care reform bill by Sen Barbara Boxer (D-Calif) would create a Geriatric and Gerontology Loan Repayment Program with the Department of Health and Human Services, says the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), Alexandria, Va.

Under the new program, health care professionals—including physical therapists—with advanced training in geriatrics would be eligible for significant educational loan repayment resources in exchange for a minimum commitment of 2 years of service in geriatric care settings. The repayment amount would be up to $35,000 a year for up to 4 years.

APTA says it worked with Boxer’s staff to ensure that physical therapists were included in the exclusive list of eligible professions for the proposed program.

To date, several hundred amendments have been filed to the Senate’s proposal. However, this does not mean that all the amendments will be allowed to be brought forth and voted on.

Suring the week of December 7, the Senate voted against strengthening restrictions for federal funding of abortion, a development that could jeopardize Democrats’ efforts to pass a comprehensive health care reform bill. Sen Ben Nelson (D-Neb) offered the amendment and Senators voted 54 to 45 to table the measure. Six Democrats voted with Nelson to support the amendment. However, the six Senators, unlike Nelson, are not expected to oppose the health care bill as a result of the amendment’s failing.

[Source: APTA]