February 1, 2012 — The American Chiropractic Association (ACA) announced that doctors of chiropractic are now eligible to apply for a student loan repayment program administered by the Indian Health Service (IHS), an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

IHS provides healthcare to approximately 2 million American Indians and Alaska Natives through a system of programs and facilities located on or near American Indian reservations and, in some cases, through contractors in certain urban areas. Its loan repayment program awards up to $20,000 per year for the repayment of qualified student loans in exchange for an initial two-year service obligation to practice full time at an Indian health program site.

ACA’s announcement comes following a public notice in the Federal Register that lists the requirements for qualified health professionals who may apply for funds available through the program and specifically includes doctors of chiropractic. This change to IHS’ requirements is the result of ACA’s advocacy work.

“The inclusion of doctors of chiropractic in the IHS loan repayment program is good for everyone involved,” said ACA President Keith Overland, DC. “Members of the American Indian community will receive the health care they need, and young doctors can gain valuable work experience while reducing their student debt.”

An extensive variety of health professionals are eligible to apply for the IHS loan repayment program. IHS maintains the discretion to decide which health professions will be eligible to apply during a particular funding cycle and forms “contracts” with selected individuals based on a ranking system that reflects the priority needs expressed by the various American Indian tribes and sites served by the agency.

While chiropractic was specifically included for Fiscal Year 2012, successfully obtaining a loan repayment contract is dependent on several factors including competition from other provider types and the level of demand for chiropractic services by various American Indian tribes.

For full details on how to apply for the program, please visit ihs.gov/JobsCareerDevelop/DHPS/lrp.

Source: American Chiropractic Association, acatoday.org