Government offers med-school loan help in exchange for service

Primary-care clinicians can apply for as much as $60,000 to help repay student loans if they serve for two years in medically underserved areas, the Department of Health and Human Services announced Monday.

The new application cycle for the National Health Service Corps' loan repayment program is financed by a $290 million investment in Democrats' healthcare reform law. The help is available to primary-care medical, dental and mental health clinicians.

"As we continue to seek ways to impact both the primary care workforce shortage and the increasing debt burden on new providers, NHSC serves as a model for addressing both challenges simultaneously," HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a statement. "Increasing access to primary care physicians who can support the physical and mental well-being of individuals can help prevent disease and illness, and ensure everyone — regardless of where they live — has access to comprehensive, high quality care."