Expanding opportunities for higher education students (Haler, Hansen, Holy)

Creates the medical student loan program to increase the rural physician workforce in the state. Requires the office of student financial assistance to administer the program. Creates the medical student loan account.

The Medical Student Loan Program. The MSL Program was limited to private funding for the purpose of issuing medical student loans, although state funding may be used for administrative costs. The definition of "rural" was changed to "rural and underserved" and defined "as an area where credentialed health care professionals are in short supply as a result of geographic maldistribution or as the result of a short supply of credentialed health care professionals, and where vacancies exist in serious numbers that jeopardize patient care and pose a threat to the public health and safety, as determined by the Office." Technical corrections were made to the account provision, and additional data points were added to the reporting requirement to include the percentage of the participant's patients served by Medicaid and similar programs, and the amount of private funding received for the MSL Program. Washington State Opportunity Scholarship. A number of definitions were modified. "Advanced degree" was changed to "eligible advanced degree program," the definition of "service obligation" was changed to remove the phrase "health professional shortage area" which was replaced with "service obligation area," and the definition of "health professional shortage area" was removed and replaced with "service obligation area." Changes to the definition of "program administrator" were also removed. In addition, a reporting requirement was added, and the WSOS Board must consider advanced degree programs that include primary care, dental care, behavioral health, and public health. The WSOS Program Administrator is required to establish a process for verifying a participant's employment in a service obligation area and to establish a repayment obligation and appeals process if a participant fails to complete their entire service obligation.

Changes the definition of "rural and underserved area" To "rural underserved area" means a rural county as defined in RCW 82.14.370 that is also designated by the health resources and services administration as a medically underserved area or having a medically underserved population.

Modifies the name of the account to the Advanced Degrees Pathways Account. Requires that state match funds transferred into the Advanced Degrees Pathways Account cannot exceed $1 million per biennium. Makes technical corrections.

Hearing Date: Monday, February 26, 2018 -- 10:00 am

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