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Chapter 195-11 SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM

Rule 195-11-.01 General Definitions

(1) "Georgia Board of Health Care Workforce" means the organization and its office created under O.C.G.A. § 20-3-510 et seq. and authorized to administer a medical scholarship program.
(2) "Scholarship Program" refers to that program of the Georgia Board of Health Care Workforce authorized under O.C.G.A. § 20-3-512 et seq., which awards financial scholarships to medical students who, in return, agree to become practicing physicians in rural areas of Georgia.
(3) "Scholarship Contract" refers to the legally binding agreement between Georgia Board of Health Care Workforce and the medical student recipient.
(4) "Scholarship Award" means the amount of state appropriated funds available to be awarded through contracts between the Georgia Board of Health Care Workforce and medical student recipients.
(5) "Bona fide Citizen of the United States and Legal Resident of Georgia" refers to, as minimum qualification, any eligible applicant for scholarship funds who is a citizen of the United States and who has established residence in the State of Georgia. Residence is verified by submission of a Certification of Residency form duly executed by the Clerk of Court in the county of the applicant's legal Georgia residence.
(6) "Eligible and Qualified Student" refers to any bona fide citizen of the United States and Georgia resident who has been accepted into an accredited medical school seeking either the degree of Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) or Doctor of Osteopathy (D.O.).
(7) "Scholarship Recipient" refers to an applicant who has received and accepted the award of a scholarship and signed a contract and other required documents agreeing to practice such specialty in a rural location in Georgia, as approved by the Board.
(8) "Medical School" means an institution of medical education located in the United States that has received accreditation or provisional accreditation by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) or the Bureau of Professional Education of the American Osteopathic Association (AOA) for a program in medical education designed to qualify the graduate for licensure by the Georgia Composite Medical Board.
(9) "Service Obligation" means the period of service completed by the scholarship recipient in a practice location approved by the Board in a rural area of Georgia or in a designated state facility as required under the provisions of the scholarship contract. The service obligation must begin within ninety (90) days of the completion of an accredited graduated medical education program.
(10) "Strong Commitment" means evidence from interviews and personal statements, or other instruments that the Board, in its sole judgment, deems to be predictive of the student's future practice of medicine in a rural community in Georgia.
(11) "Approved Practice Location" means the Board has approved a practice location for service repayment for the primary care specialties of family medicine, general internal medicine, and general pediatrics in a rural county in Georgia of 50,000 population or less according to the United States decennial census of 2010 or any future such census, or in an area of this state which is rural and underserved by primary care physicians as determined by the Board, or a hospital or facility operated by or under the jurisdiction of the Department of Public Health, or a facility operated by or under the jurisdiction of the Department of Corrections, or a facility operated by or under the jurisdiction of the Department of Juvenile Justice or a facility operated by or under the jurisdiction of the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities. Facilities falling under jurisdiction of the mentioned state agencies must include physician employment by approved agency or, in the case of contracted employment, the physician must be treating patients of the approved agency with equal provisions given to that agency's missions.
(12) "Underserved and Rural Area for the primary care specialty of Obstetrics/Gynecology and other critical need specialties" is defined as a regional area composed of counties located in rural Georgia where an unmet need for physicians in the primary care specialty of Obstetrics/Gynecology and other critical needs specialties exists as determined by the Georgia Board of Health Care Workforce and approved by the commissioners of Community Health and Public Health.
(13) "Census Count" means the population figures published by the United States Decennial Census of the United States Bureau of the Census. For Scholarship Agreements signed during the period of January 1, 2011 through December 31, 2020, the 2010 Census Count shall serve as the authority for populations regarding eligibility of practice locations. For Scholarship Agreements signed during the period of January 1, 2001 through December 31, 2010, the 2000 Census Count shall serve as the authority for populations regarding eligibility of practice locations. For Scholarship Agreements signed during the period of January 1, 1991 through December 31, 2000, the 1990 Census Count shall serve as the authority for populations regarding eligibility of practice locations.
(14) "Contract Renewal" means the yearly renewal of the scholarship contract between the recipient and the Board provided the recipient is not repeating coursework. The contract shall not be renewed more than three times for a total of four years of medical school obligation. The contract shall not be renewed if the recipient fails to submit the Annual Report by June 15th of each year.
(15) "Annual Report" means a report the recipient must provide each year by the deadline as designated by the Board. The contract will not be renewed if the scholarship recipient fails to submit the Annual Report by the due date. The Annual Report must include:
(a) Name
(b) Address
(c) Enrollment status and verification of good academic standing at the medical school
(d) Graduation date
(e) Official Transcript from Medical School
(f) Continued interest and recommitment to rural practice
(16) "Board Approval" refers to the action of the Board on matters including, but not limited to:
(a) Practice Location
(b) Deferment of Contractual Obligation for:
1. Medical school enrollment beyond four years
2. Relinquishing scholarship award; declining scholarship funds
3. Chief resident year
4. Additional Graduate Medical Education training beyond the initial residency
5. Special deferment requests approved on a case by case basis by the Board.
(17) "Award Amount" refers to the annual award provided to a scholarship recipient. At its annual meeting, the Georgia Board of Health Care Workforce may, within its discretion, set the award amount for new scholarships within the limit of funds appropriated by the General Assembly for the fiscal year. Students whose applications are approved shall receive a loan or scholarship in an amount to be determined by the Board to defray the tuition and other expenses of the applicant in an accredited medical school in the United States which has received accreditation or provisional accreditation by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education or the Bureau of Professional Education of the American Osteopathic Association for a program in medical education designed to qualify the graduate for licensure by the Georgia Composite Medical Board. Said amount shall be set forth in the official minutes of the Board.
(18) "Interest" refers to the rate of interest, as it applies to default in the event the scholarship recipient does not complete a medical degree or is unable to obtain licensure from the Georgia Composite Medical Board. The Board shall set the interest rate at its annual meeting and the interest shall be no less than twelve percent (12%) per annum compounded annually to the date the scholarship or loan is paid in full; provided, however, that the Board may consent to or agree to a lesser measure of damages for compelling reasons as determined by the Board.
(19) "Internship" means the first year of post-graduate medical training after recipient obtains an osteopathic medical school degree. The official use of the terms "intern" and "internship" was discontinued in allopathic medical education in 1976 in favor of referring to all physicians enrolled in graduate medical education programs as "residents."
(20) "Residency Training and Graduate Medical Education" means an Accreditation Council on Graduate Medical Education (A.C.G.M.E.) or American Osteopathic Association (A.O.A.) accredited education program after graduation from medical school that provides resident physicians, under supervision, with the practice experience, knowledge and skills necessary to become independent practitioners in a specified area of medical practice.
(21) "Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs)" refers to those Georgia counties that the Board will not approve for service repayment for contracts written July 1, 1992 through June 30, 1999 by virtue of being deemed by the Board as not rural.
(22) "Residency or Graduate Medical Education" refers to those graduate medical education training programs, which lead to board certification in specialties most often recruited and retained in rural areas of Georgia. For scholarship recipients receiving the initial award after July 1, 2014, such specialties are limited to: Family Medicine, General Internal Medicine, and General Pediatrics. State General Appropriations will be used to fund scholarships for these specialties only.
(23) "Default" means breach of contract by the recipient.
(24) "Ad Damnum or Triple Damages" refers to the penalty resulting from a scholarship recipient defaulting on the contractual service obligation. Default requires immediate repayment of triple the total principal amount received less any pro-rated amount for repaid service as provided in the contract. The Board may consent or agree to a lesser measure of damages as determined by the Board.
(25) "Student Default" refers to scholarship recipients who are dismissed for either academic or disciplinary reasons from the college or school of medicine he or she is attending; voluntarily terminates his or her training and education in such institution for any reason prior to completion of training; or are unable to obtain licensure from the Georgia Composite Medical Board to practice medicine. These persons are immediately liable to the Board for all sums advanced with interest at the minimum rate of 12 percent per annum from the date of each payment by the Board and compounded annually to the date the scholarship or loan is paid in full; provided, however, that the Board may consent or agree to a lesser measure of damages for compelling reasons as determined by the Board.
(26) "Cancellation of Contract" refers to the discretionary power of the Georgia Board of Health Care Workforce to cancel any contract for cause deemed sufficient by the Board, provided such authority is not exercised unreasonably or arbitrarily.
(27) "Full Time" refers to the minimum number of hours of work required per week to fulfill service obligation. Full time is considered at least 32 clinical hours providing direct patient care during normal clinic hours at the approved practice site. Remaining hours must be spent providing inpatient care to patients and/or in practice-related administrative activities. On-call hours are not considered part of the full time requirement. Full time hours for an OBGYN or Family Medicine physicians who practice OB are considered at least 21 of the minimum 40 hours work week must be spent providing direct patient care during normal clinic hours at the approved practice site. The remaining hours must be spent providing inpatient care to patients of the approved site, and/or in practice related administrative activities not to exceed 8 hours per week. 40 hours per week for General Surgery is combined clinical/office hours and surgery/inpatient care with no more than 8 hours per week devoted to practice related administrative duties. For all specialties employed under state jurisdiction, the full time equivalent as recognized by the respective state or federal agency is acceptable. No more than 7 weeks (35 workdays) per year can be spent away from the practice for vacation, holidays, continuing professional education, illness or any other reason. Absences greater than 7 weeks in a service year will extend the service commitment.
(28) "Practice" refers to providing direct patient care in Board approved rural and underserved areas located within the State of Georgia.
(29) "Direct Patient Care" refers to hands on, face-to-face contact with patients for the purpose of diagnosis, treatment and monitoring.
(30) "Inability to Obtain License to Practice Medicine in Georgia" refers to failing to complete the Steps 1, 2 (clinical skills and clinical knowledge components) and 3 of the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) or Levels 1, 2 (cognitive evaluation and performance evaluation components), and 3 of the Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination (COMLEX) by the time the scholarship recipient completes their primary care residency training program.
(31) "Compelling reasons" refers to conditions such as a life threatening illness or loss of ability to practice medicine or to be gainfully employed due to illness or accident. The Board may consent to a lesser measure of damages for compelling reasons.

Rule 195-11-.02 Eligibility Criteria for Initial Scholarship Awards

(1) Scholarships recipients must be bonafide citizens of the United States and legal residents of Georgia at the time of the initial scholarship award.
(2) Applicants must have received a letter of acceptance to an accredited medical school in the United States, offering an education program leading to the Doctor of Medicine or Doctor of Osteopathy degree.
(3) Applicants must demonstrate a strong commitment to specialize in a field of medicine appropriate to meeting the needs of rural communities in Georgia. Such specialties are determined at the sole discretion of the Georgia Board for Physician Workforce, and as of July 1, 2014 for new scholarship recipients, include family medicine, general internal medicine, and general pediatrics. State General Appropriations will be used to fund scholarships for these specialties only.
(4) Applicants must demonstrate a strong commitment to practice medicine on a full-time basis, at least 40 hours per week, in a practice location approved by the Georgia Board for Physician Workforce. Practice locations approved by the Board for the primary care specialties of family medicine, general internal medicine, and general pediatrics include rural counties in Georgia of 50,000 population or less according to the United States decennial census of 2010 or any future census, or in an area of this state which is rural and underserved by primary care physicians as determined by the Board, or in designated state facilities operated under the jurisdiction of the Georgia Department of Public Health, Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice, Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities, or the Georgia Department of Corrections. For scholarship recipients receiving initial awards prior to July 1, 2014 and have not yet begun their service obligation, practice locations for Obstetrics/Gynecology and other critical need specialties include regional areas composed of counties located in rural Georgia where an unmet need for physicians exists as determined by the Board and approved by the commissioners of Community Health and Public Health.
a. Financial need shall be used as one criterion for the award of scholarships. In considering financial need, the Board shall take into account the financial resources of the applicant and the total cost of tuition, books, fees, and other expenses at the medical school in which the applicant is enrolled. Reporting of financial resources shall be based on information submitted by the applicant and his/her parents on the financial disclosure forms provided with the scholarship application along with a copy of the most recent federal tax return.
(5) Applicants must be of good character and be academically and emotionally well qualified to prepare for a career in medicine, with special attention to attributes, experience, and qualities determined by the Board to be necessary for successful medical practice in rural communities. Life experience in a rural community is one factor often considered by the Board in determining an applicant's qualifications for the scholarship award.

Rule 195-11-.03 Application Process for Initial Scholarship Awards

(1) The application form for the Georgia Board of Health Care Workforce Scholarship program must be completed and postmarked or hand delivered by the date designated by the Board of the year application is made.
(2) The application form will not be considered complete unless all required documents and materials are submitted, including:
(a) Documentation of U.S. citizenship and status as a legal resident of Georgia.
(b) Letter of acceptance to an accredited medical school.
(c) Complete Applicant's Financial Information Form and copy of most recent Federal Income Tax Return.
(d) Academic records, including undergraduate major and grade point average, Medical College Admission Test scores, and copy of the personal statement from the medical school application.
(e) Selective Service Form.
(f) Background Check Authorization.
(g) Other instruments provided by the Board that are shown to predict rural medical practice interests.
(h) Authorization and Release Form to allow Georgia Board of Health Care Workforce access to financial and other information for fact checking purposes.
(i) Transcript from medical school if currently enrolled.
(3) A personal interview with the Board is required for all scholarship applicants. Interviews are usually conducted at the same meeting at which the Board considers and acts upon scholarship applications. In rare cases where it is not feasible for a scholarship applicant to attend the Board meeting, such as when an applicant is out of the country at the time of the meeting, the Board may allow videotaped or videoconference interviews. If the board permits a videotaped interview, the interview will take place at the Georgia Board of Health Care Workforce offices and will be conducted by the Executive Director of the Board.

Rule 195-11-.04 Administrative Review Process for Initial Scholarship Awards

(1) Board staff shall review all scholarship applications to ensure eligibility requirements are met and all required documentation has been received by the application deadline as designated by the Board for that application year.
(2) Board staff shall notify applicants when their complete application has been received and eligibility requirements have been met.
(3) Board staff shall notify applicants who do not meet eligibility requirements or who do not submit complete scholarship applications by the application deadline that their applications will not be considered.
(4) Board staff may interview applicants to clarify information submitted.
(5) Board staff shall compile the information on each scholarship applicant and shall prepare a summary report for review by the Board.
(6) Board staff shall notify applicants in writing of the time, place, and process for interviews required by the Board.

Rule 195-11-.05 Board Review and Action Process for Initial Scholarship Awards

(1) The Board shall receive and act upon all complete applications for the Scholarship Program made by eligible and qualified applicants.
(2) The Board shall make a careful and full investigation of the ability, character, and qualifications of each applicant for the Scholarship Program.
(3) The Board may employ such methods of evaluating applicants, as it deems appropriate. In addition to the review of the information submitted in the application, the Board generally employs personal interviews as part of the review process. The interview shall be conducted utilizing a standard set of questions designed to assess the qualifications of the applicant, the applicant's understanding of the goals and requirements of the scholarship program, and the applicant's commitment to fulfill the goals and requirements of the scholarship program. The Board may videotape interviews to provide a record for subsequent review.
(4) The Board shall rank order scholarship applicants using a scoring system based on the applicants' qualifications and character, commitment to rural medical practice, commitment to practice in a medical specialty needed in rural Georgia and financial need. In the event of a tie score between two or more applicants, the Board shall conduct additional rounds of scoring until a final rank order has been determined and agreed upon by a majority vote of the members of the Board present.
(5) The final rank order of applicants shall be recorded in the minutes of the Board.
(6) The number of scholarships to be awarded shall be determined based on total funding appropriated by the General Assembly for the scholarship program and the amount of the scholarship award as determined by the Board.
(7) The Board shall take action awarding the scholarships available based on the rank order of scholarship applicants approved for awards.
(8) The Board shall not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, national origin, age or handicap in decisions involving the award of scholarships.

Rule 195-11-.06 Notification, Acceptance, and Payment Process for Initial Scholarship Awards

(1) The Board staff shall notify each applicant in writing of the Board's decision within 10 business days following the Board's decision.
(2) Successful applicants will be asked to accept or decline the award of a scholarship by signing and submitting an Acceptance Form within 10 business days of receiving notice of the award from the Board. Said Acceptance Form must be notarized and shall be incorporated as an addendum to the official contract.
(3) Scholarship awards that are declined shall be automatically offered to the next applicant on the Board's rank order list. If no applicant is available on the rank order list, the Board shall approve unused scholarship funds to be allocated for the Physicians for Rural Areas Assistance Loan Repayment Program.
(4) If the scholarship award is accepted, Board staff will contact the applicant's medical school to verify that the student has enrolled on a full-time basis.
(5) Upon verification of enrollment, Board staff shall issue a scholarship contract to the scholarship recipient.
(6) Board staff shall arrange for all valid and approved contracts to be executed by the Executive Director and Chairman of the Board. Such documents shall be notarized and the official seal of the Board affixed.
(7) One of the two fully executed copies of the scholarship contract shall be returned to the scholarship recipient and one kept in the permanent records of the Georgia Board for Physician Workforce.
(8) Board staff shall submit appropriate paperwork to the Department of Community Health within 10 business days of the execution of the scholarship contract requesting payment of the scholarship award.
(9) The Board reserves the right to pay the student's tuition and fees directly to the medical school in which the recipient is enrolled, with the balance, if any, being paid directly to the scholarship recipient for books and other educational expenses.
(10) The Board staff shall maintain appropriate records necessary to account for the expenditure of funds for the Scholarship Program.

Rule 195-11-.07 Application Process for Renewal Scholarship Awards

(1) The application form for annual renewal of the Georgia Board of Health Care Workforce program must be completed and postmarked or hand delivered by the date designated by the Board of the year application is made.
(2) The application form will not be considered complete unless the scholarship recipient submits the annual report required in the scholarship contract.
(3) The scholarship recipient's annual report shall include the following information:
(a) Current address, phone number and email address.
(b) Documentation of continued enrollment, in good standing (not repeating coursework), in medical school, such as an official transcript or letter from the registrar or student affairs officer of the school.
(c) Anticipated medical school graduation date.
(d) Verification of continued interest and recommitment to rural practice.

Rule 195-11-.08 Administrative Review Process for Renewal Scholarship Awards

(1) Board staff shall review all applications for renewal scholarships to ensure that all required documents have been submitted and applications are complete.
(2) Board staff shall notify applicants when their complete application has been received.
(3) Board staff shall notify applicants who do not meet eligibility requirements or who do not submit complete renewal scholarship applications by the application deadline as designated by the Board that their applications will not be considered.
(4) Board staff shall prepare a summary report of all applicants for renewal scholarships for consideration by the Board.

Rule 195-11-.09 Board Review and Action Process for Renewal Scholarship Awards

(1) The Board shall receive and act upon all complete applications for renewal scholarships at the Board's Annual Meeting.
(2) The Board shall determine the number of renewal scholarships and the amount of the scholarship award based on funding appropriated for the Scholarship Program by the General Assembly. It should be noted that the amount of the scholarship might vary from year to year based on availability of funds.
(3) The Board shall take action to award renewal scholarships to applicants who have submitted a complete application, who are enrolled in good standing in medical school, who are not repeating coursework, and who continue to demonstrate the characteristics and qualities the Board deems necessary for the award of the scholarship.

Rule 195-11-.10 Notification, Acceptance, and Payment Process for Renewal Scholarship Awards

(1) The Board staff shall notify each applicant in writing of the Board's decision within 10 business days of the Board's Annual Meeting.
(2) Successful applicants will be asked to accept or decline the award of a scholarship by signing and submitting an Acceptance Form within 10 business days of receiving notice of the award from the Board. Acceptance Forms shall be notarized and incorporated as an addendum to the official contract.
(3) Scholarship awards that are declined shall be made available to initial scholarship applicants.
(4) If the scholarship award is accepted, Board staff shall issue a scholarship contract to the scholarship recipient. Each recipient will be allowed 10 days in which to review the contract and consult with an attorney as to its contents if they so choose.
(5) Board staff shall arrange for all valid and approved contracts to be executed by the Executive Director and Chairman of the Board. Such documents shall be notarized and the official seal of the Board affixed.
(6) One of the two fully executed copies of the scholarship contract shall be returned to the scholarship recipient and one kept in the permanent records of the Georgia Board of Health Care Workforce.
(7) Board staff shall submit appropriate paperwork to the Department of Community Health within 10 business days of the execution of the scholarship contract requesting payment of the scholarship award.
(8) The Board reserves the right to pay the student's tuition and fees directly to the medical school in which the recipient is enrolled, with the balance, if any, being paid directly to the scholarship recipient for books and other educational expenses.
(9) The Board staff shall maintain appropriate records necessary to account for the expenditure of funds for the Scholarship Program.

Rule 195-11-.11 Length of the Scholarship Contract

(1) The term of the initial scholarship award contract is one year.
(2) The term of each annual renewal scholarship award contract is one year.
(3) Three (3) is the maximum number of renewal scholarship contracts that any one recipient may receive. Together with the initial scholarship award, a recipient may receive a maximum of four years of funding for their medical education through the scholarship program.

Rule 195-11-.12 Board Approval of Recipient's Graduate Medical Education Program

(1) Scholarship recipients must notify the Board of their intent to enter a graduate medical education program prior to enrollment in that program in order to ensure that recipients enter medical specialties deemed by the Board to be able to sustain full time practices in rural communities in Georgia. For new scholarship awards made after July 1, 2014, such specialties are limited to: Family Medicine, General Internal Medicine, and General Pediatrics.
(2) Failure by the scholarship recipient, who received their initial award after July 1, 2014, to enter into a Family Medicine, General Internal Medicine or General Pediatrics graduate medical education program shall constitute a breach of contract by the recipient and will authorize the Board to seek cash repayment, plus all applicable damages and fees.
(3) Payment of the service obligation or monetary obligation of the scholarship contract is deferred during the recipient's graduate medical education, provided the scholarship recipient is enrolled in a graduate medical education program which is officially recorded in the Board meeting minutes and provided the recipient submits the annual report required by the contract. Failure to submit annual reports required by the contract shall constitute a breach of contract by the recipient.
(4) The annual report during the recipient's graduate medical education shall include the following information:
(a) Current contact information including address, phone number, email address, social security number, name change and other pertinent information;
(b) Documentation from the recipient's Program Director, Department Chair, or other appropriate institutional official indication that the recipient is enrolled in the graduate medical education program in good standing.
(5) Scholarship recipients must secure Board approval to change their graduate medical education program, including any extension of training that is the result of pursuing training in a fellowship or subspecialty.
(6) In instances where a scholarship recipient fails to secure approval from the Board to change or extend the graduate medical education program, the Board shall require the recipient to begin practice in a Board approved community in the specialty previously approved by the Board within 90 days of the scheduled completion of the original graduate medical education program.
(7) Failure by the scholarship recipient to begin practice within 90 days of the scheduled completion date of the original graduate medical education program or within 90 days of a Board approved extension of training shall constitute a breach of contract by the recipient and will authorize the Board to seek cash repayment, plus all applicable damages and fees.

Rule 195-11-.13 Service Obligation and Board Approval of Practice Location

(1) The initial scholarship award and each subsequent annual renewal of the scholarship award requires a one year service obligation upon completion of the recipient's graduate medical education. The scholarship recipient is required to practice medicine on a fulltime basis (at least 40 hours per week) in a practice location approved by the Board in an area of this state which is rural or underserved by primary care physicians as determined by the Board, in a regional area of this state composed of rural counties where an unmet need for certain primary care and other critical need specialty physicians exists as determined by the Board and approved by the commissioners of Community Health and Public Health, or in a medical facility operated by or under the jurisdiction of the Department of Public Health, the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities, the Department of Corrections, or the Department of Juvenile Justice. For the primary care specialties of family medicine, general internal medicine, and general pediatrics, rural and underserved area is defined as a rural county in Georgia of 50,000 population or less according to the United States decennial census of 2010 or any future such census or an area of this state which is rural and underserved by primary care physicians as determined by the Board. For scholarship recipients receiving awards prior to July 1, 2014, practice locations for Obstetrics/Gynecology and other critical need specialties include regional areas composed of counties located in rural Georgia where an unmet need for physicians exists as determined by the Board and approved by the commissioners of Community Health and Public Health.
(2) The scholarship recipient must begin practice in a location approved by the Board within 90 days of completion of graduate medical education.
(3) Counties eligible as practice locations shall be determined on the basis of the county population published in the official census of the United States for the decade in which the recipient's initial scholarship award contract was signed. Regional areas shall be determined by the Board, and approved by the Commissioners of Community Health and Public Health, on the basis of where an unmet need for Obstetrics/Gynecology and other critical need specialties exist.
(4) Payment of the service obligation of the scholarship contract is calculated on the basis of one year (12 calendar months) of service for the initial scholarship contract, and one year of service for each renewal scholarship contract. Credit toward meeting the service obligation is calculated on a daily basis from the date the recipient begins practice in a Board approved practice location.
(5) Leave of absence for more than 7 weeks (35 workdays) per year from the medical practice for medical, personal, formal education, or other reasons is not credited toward meeting the service obligation of the contract. Vacation, holidays, and time for continuing medical education shall not be construed to be "leave of absence" unless it extends past the 7 week period.
(6) Board approval in writing is required for all practice locations the recipient selects to meet the service obligation of the scholarship contract.
(7) Recipients may change practice locations with written approval of the Board.
(8) The recipient must submit an annual report in order to receive credit toward meeting the service obligation of the scholarship contract. The annual report shall include the following information:
(a) Current mailing address, email address and phone number.
(b) Documentation of full-time practice acceptable to the Board, such as a letter from a partner or owner of the medical practice or medical facility if the recipient is employed, or a sample of the recipient's office schedule.
(c) Other information the recipient may wish to provide to the Board on the practice or on other aspects of the scholarship program.
(9) Board staff may conduct on-site visits of the recipient's medical practice location in order to verify compliance with scholarship contract requirements.
(10) Board staff will provide an annual report to the recipient to document completion of the service obligation of the scholarship contract.
(11) The scholarship recipient must accept Medicaid and Medicare and actively treat patients on both of these programs.

Rule 195-11-.14 Contract Default and Penalties

(1) Student Default. In the event a scholarship recipient is dismissed from medical school for either academic or disciplinary reasons, or if a recipient voluntary withdraws from medical school prior to completion of the requirements for the M.D. or D.O. degree, or if the recipient is unable to obtain licensure from the Georgia Composite Medical Board due to failure to meet licensure requirements to practice medicine, the scholarship funds received, plus interest at 12 percent per annum from the date of each payment by the Board compounded annually to the date the scholarship is paid in full for each scholarship contract year shall be repaid to the Board, with interest to be calculated as follows.
(a) Interest is calculated on an annual basis, with interest compounded onto the outstanding principal owed by the student.
(b) Interest compounds onto the principal owed, meaning that interest accrues onto the outstanding principal with each annual calculation.
(c) In order to calculate interest for a partial year, the annual interest is calculated fully and divided by 12. That calculation is then multiplied by the number of months from the last interest calculation to the month the funds are paid in full.
(d) The number of months to use in this calculation is determined as the number of months that have passed since the Georgia Board of Health Care Workforce submitted payment on behalf of the student and the anticipated month that funds shall be received in full.
(e) Interest calculations made for the initial month of receipt of Georgia Board of Health Care Workforce funds and the month in which these funds are repaid in full is calculated for an entire month, regardless of the length of time a recipient actually held debt from the Georgia Board of Health Care Workforce during those two months.
(f) In cases involving long-term repayment, a one-time charge of 15% will be added to the total debt owed by the student to account for the costs of servicing this debt repayment.
(g) The Board may consent or agree to a lesser measure of damages for compelling reasons as determined by the Board, such as life-threatening illness or loss of ability to be gainfully employed due to illness or accident.
(2) Default. A scholarship recipient shall be considered in breach of contract in the following circumstances which lead to the triple damage penalty:
(a) Recipient fails to submit the annual report while enrolled in a graduate medical education program.
(b) Scholarship recipient fails to begin full-time medical practice in a Board approved practice location within 90 days after completing graduate medical education.
(c) Scholarship recipient fails to complete all or a portion of the service obligation of the scholarship contracts, including the requirement for full-time practice and the submission of the required annual report.
(d) Scholarship recipient fails to obtain and maintain a Georgia medical license during the service obligation period of the initial scholarship contract and any renewal scholarship contracts.
(3) Triple Damages Penalty. In the event of default or breach of contract by the recipient, the recipient shall be immediately liable to the Board for three times (3x) the total amount of funding received from the initial scholarship award and all renewal scholarship awards. The total amount on which the triple damages penalty is calculated shall be reduced by credit for fulfillment of any portion of the service obligation.

Example:

Initial Scholarship Award:

$ 20,000

Renewal Scholarship Award:

$ 20,000

Renewal Scholarship Award:

$ 20,000

Renewal Scholarship Award:

$ 20,000

Total funding received:

$ 80,000

Penalty for default:

$240,000

(4) Georgia Board of Health Care Workforce may consent to a lesser measure of damages for compelling reasons as determined by the Board.
(5) In the event the scholarship recipient disputes the findings of the Board with regard to breach of contract, the scholarship recipient may elect to file an appeal in accordance with the Board's policy for due process. It is incumbent upon the recipient to provide the Board with the recipient's most current mailing address and telephone number.
(6) Board Cancellation of Contract. The Georgia Board of Health Care Workforce may cancel the scholarship of any applicant at any time for any cause deemed sufficient by the Board, provided such authority is not used arbitrarily or unreasonable. In such cases as the Board cancels the contract, the penalty for cancellation is the principal paid to the recipient plus 12% interest per annum from the date of each payment by the Board compounded annually to the date the scholarship is paid in full.

Rule 195-11-.15 Due Process and Collection Provisions in the Event of Default

A. Intent and General Approach. It is the intention of the Georgia Board of Health Care Workforce to carry out the purpose of the Scholarship Program to recruit physicians in medically underserved rural areas of Georgia. It is also the intention of the Georgia Board of Health Care Workforce to assure due process in the enforcement of the provisions of the Scholarship program contract. Therefore, in the event of default by the recipient of the service obligations of the contract, the Board will take reasonable steps to negotiate completion of the service obligation by the recipient prior to enforcement of the penalty provisions of the contract.
B. Assessment of Default. Board staff shall investigate potential default situations, obtain information from recipients pertaining to the potential default and report to the Board.
C. Notification and Due Process Procedures. In the event the Board determines a recipient to be in default, the following steps shall be taken:
(1) Notification of Default. The Executive Director of the Board shall notify the recipient by certified mail of the Board's finding that the recipient is in default. The letter of notification shall include the facts upon which the Board made its finding of default. The letter of notification shall provide information on the penalty provisions of the contract, including the total penalty due and payable, the Board's procedures for enforcement of the penalty provisions, and the opportunity for the recipient to obtain a hearing before the Board to appeal the finding of default.
(2) Opportunity for a Hearing prior to enforcement of penalty provisions. Upon receipt of a notice of default, the scholarship recipient will be allowed thirty (30) days from the mailing date of the default notice to request a hearing before the Board to dispute the finding of default or to provide information to the Board as to why the penalty provisions of the contract should not be enforced. Said hearing shall take place within sixty (60) days of receipt by the Board of a clearly written request for a hearing from the recipient.
(3) Hearing.
a. The Board Chair shall serve as the presiding officer for the hearing. In the absence of the Chair, the Board Vice Chair shall preside.
b. The recipient shall have a reasonable amount of time during the hearing to present information relevant to the issue of default to the Board. The presiding officer of the hearing shall determine the length of the hearing and shall have the sole authority to bring the hearing to closure.
c. Testimony of individuals with knowledge relevant to the recipient's case is requested to be submitted in writing to the Board at least one week prior to the date of the hearing. The presiding officer of the hearing may permit live testimony if, in the sole opinion of the presiding officer, the information to be presented by witnesses is relevant and useful to assist the Board in making an appropriate decision.
d. Neither the Board nor the recipient shall be represented by legal counsel at the hearing.
e. At the conclusion of the hearing, action to accept or reject the recipient's appeal shall be made by majority vote of the Board members present. The decision of the Board shall be final.
f. The recipient shall be notified in writing of the Board's decision within ten days of the date of the hearing.
g. If the recipient declines the offer of a hearing before the Board or fails to appear as scheduled, the penalty provisions of the contract shall be enforced immediately.
D. Enforcement of Penalty Provisions.
(1) In the event of default and following implementation of the notification and due process procedures, the penalty provisions of the contract shall be enforced through the civil courts.
(2) In the event legal action is instituted to collect any amount under the contract, the recipient shall pay attorney's fees incurred in the collection in an amount equal to fifteen percent (15%) of the unpaid balance of principal and interest/penalties.
(3) Principal and penalties collected through the courts shall be used to pay the balance of any costs of collection, with the balance returned to the State of Georgia Treasury.
(4) Penalty payments made to the State Treasury shall be duly recorded by the Georgia Board of Health Care Workforce and a record of payment maintained in the recipient's permanent file.