Board of Supervisors takes urgent action to end health physician shortage in Los Angeles County

In an effort to recruit and retain health care workers, nurses, and primary care doctors to work in the County’s most medically underserved areas, the Board of Supervisors Tuesday took immediate action to ease the burden of student loan debt for Los Angeles County health care professionals.

In a motion sponsored by Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, the five-member Board voted to allow Los Angeles County employees to apply for the Steven M. Thompson Physician Corps Loan Repayment Program, which provides up to $105,000 of loan assistance to physicians who commit to working full time for three years in an area with a shortage of health professionals. They also may apply for any other repayment program that does not require County financial contributions towards loan repayment.

The motion also directs staff to create a master plan on how to address physician shortage challenges in medically underserved areas using federal, state and philanthropic funds.

“By assisting physicians, who typically carry hefty loads of student loan debt, we hope to give them every incentive to go into public service,” said Supervisor Ridley-Thomas. “At the same time, the public benefits; we’ll be expanding access to health care throughout Los Angeles County, particularly in our urban, rural and traditionally underserved communities.”