Chapter 195-14 DENTAL LOAN REPAYMENT PROGRAM
|(1)||"Georgia Board for Physician Workforce (GBPW)" means the organization and its office created under O.C.G.A. § 49-10.|
|(2)||"Loan" refers to the service repayable grant awarded by the Georgia Board for Physician Workforce to applicants who are desirous of becoming dentists practicing dentistry in rural areas of Georgia.|
|(3)||"Loan Repayment" refers to repayment of all or a portion of recipient's outstanding dental education loan debt. Qualifying debt is held by an established lending institution, identifiable as originating from the debt incurred to obtain a dental education and fully disclosed at the time of application.|
|(4)||"Qualified Debt" is any debt incurred to obtain a dental education, fully disclosed at the time of application, and is currently not in default. Even if a creditor now considers the defaulted loan to be in good standing, such debt shall not be considered Qualified Debt.|
|(5)||"Dental Education Loan Debt" refers to loans incurred by the applicant to finance his/her dental education that remains unpaid during the contract period.|
|(6)||"Eligible and Qualified Applicant" refers to, as minimum qualifications, a dentist with outstanding dental education loan debt, licensed to practice dentistry in the State of Georgia who desires to serve in a Board-approved, rural area of Georgia.|
|(7)||"Dental School" means an institution of dental education that received accreditation or provisional accreditation by the American Dental Association's Commission on Dental Accreditation for a program in dental education designed to qualify the graduate for licensure by the Georgia Board of Dentistry.|
|(8)||"Recipient" means any person who receives any amount of funding from the Dentists for Rural Areas Assistance Program of the Georgia Board for Physician Workforce.|
|(9)||"Service Repayment" means the period of service earned by the dentist, as approved by the Board, toward repayment of the service cancelable loan in professional dental services rendered by the recipient and as required under the provisions of the loan contract.|
|(10)||"Credit" means that amount of time credited to the recipient for services rendered in compliance with the provisions of the contract. Credit is typically applied one year of funding for each year of service rendered in compliance with the repayment provisions of the contract.|
|(11)||"Rural and Underserved Area" is defined as a Board approved 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 at any hospital or facility operated by or under jurisdiction of the Department of Public Health, Department of Community Health, Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities, Department of Human Resources, Department of Corrections or the Department of Juvenile Justice. Facilities falling under jurisdiction of the mentioned state agencies must include dental employment by approved agency or, in case of contracted employment, the dentist must be treating patients of the approved agency with equal provisions given to that agency's missions.|
|(12)||"Contract Renewal" means the yearly renewal of the loan repayment contract between the recipient and the Board. The contract period shall be renewable on a one-year basis for a period not exceeding four years and a total amount not exceeding $100,000.|
|(13)||"Award Amount" refers to the annual amount obligated to a loan repayment recipient. The award amount shall be determined by the Board. At its annual meeting, the Board may, within its discretion, set the award amount for new loans within the limit of the appropriated funds for the budget year. Said amount shall be set forth in the official minutes of the Board.|
|(14)||"Georgia Board for Physician Workforce" means that agency of Georgia State Government created under O.C.G.A. § 49-10-1, whose purpose is to address the health care workforce needs of Georgia's communities through the support and development of medical education programs and to increase the number of physicians and health care practitioners practicing in underserved rural areas.|
|(15)||"Default" means breach of contract by the recipient in failing to begin or failing to complete the contractual service obligation of the Dentists for Rural Areas Assistance Program.|
|(16)||"Ad Damnum or Double Damages" refers to the penalty resulting from a loan repayment recipient defaulting on their contractual obligations. Default requires immediate repayment of double the total principal amount received less any pro-rated amount for repaid service as provided in the contract.|
|(17)||"Cancellation of Contract" refers to the discretionary power of the Georgia Board for Physician Workforce to cancel any contract for cause deemed sufficient by the Board, provided such authority is not exercised unreasonably or arbitrarily.|
|(18)||"Full Time" refers to the minimum number of hours of work required per week to fulfill service obligations. 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 practice-related administrative activities. On-call hours are not considered part of the full time requirement. 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 a year will extend the service commitment.|
|(19)||"Compelling Reasons" refers to conditions such as a life threatening illness or loss of ability to practice dentistry or to be gainfully employed due to illness or accident. The Board may consent to a lesser measure of damages for compelling reasons.|
Program eligibility is limited to applicants who meet the following criteria:
|(2)||Application Process. Each applicant must:
|(1)|| Administrative Review.
|(2)|| Board Review, Criteria for
Prioritizing Awards and Approval Process.
|A.||The Board staff shall notify each applicant in writing of the Board's decision within ten (10) days following the decision.|
|B.||The successful applicant will be asked to accept or decline the award of a loan by signing and submitting an Acceptance Form.|
|C.||Those applicants who accept the loan award shall receive a contract for participation in the Dentists for Rural Areas Assistance Program. Each recipient will be allowed 10 days in which to review the contract with an attorney as to its contents if they so choose.|
|D.||Loan awards that are rejected by the applicant shall be made available to the next highest ranking applicant based on the discussion and action taken by the Board.|
|E.||The Board staff shall arrange for all valid and approved contracts to be executed by the Executive Director and Board Chairman. Such documents shall be notarized and the official seal affixed.|
|F.||One of two fully executed copies of each loan contract shall be returned to the applicant and one kept in the permanent records of the GBPW.|
|G.||Funds shall be paid directly to the financial institution holding the recipient's dental student loan debt unless payment arrangements are otherwise directed in writing by the Board.|
|H.||The Board staff shall submit a check request to the Georgia Department of Community Health for payment of loan awards approved by the Board and for which fully executed contract is on file in the Board offices.|
|I.||The Board staff shall maintain appropriate records necessary to account for the expenditure of funds for the Dentists for Rural Areas Assistance Program.|
|A.||The term of the Dentists for Rural Areas Assistance Program contract will be one year.|
|B.||Awards shall be in an amount determined by the Board at the annual meeting of the Board.|
|C.||Recipients shall provide one year of service in a practice location approved by the Board for each contract.|
|D.||The contract may be renewed up to three times, for a total of four contract years.|
|E.|| Annual documentation of the dentist's
practice location and other information is required to be submitted by the
recipient in the form of an annual report to the Board.
Failure to submit the annual report will eliminate eligibility for contract renewal.
|F.||Each Dentist for Rural Areas Assistance Program recipient is responsible for keeping the Board apprised of his/her current address and telephone number at all times.|
|G.||The Board has the discretionary power to cancel any contract for cause deemed sufficient by the Board. Upon such cancellation by the Board, two times the total uncredited amount of the loan paid on behalf of the recipient shall at once become due and payable to the Georgia Board for Physician Workforce.|
|H.||The Georgia Board for Physician Workforce is vested with full and complete authority to bring an action in its own name against any recipient for any balance due the Georgia Board for Physician Workforce on any such contract.|
|(1)|| Default - a recipient will be considered
in default of the contractual obligations of the Dentists for Rural Areas
Assistance Program under any of the following situations:
|(2)||Penalty for Default - upon a finding of default by the Board, the recipient shall immediately be liable to the Board for two times the original principal amount of the loan award provided to the recipient.|
|(3)||Reduction of Penalty - the Georgia Board for Physician Workforce may consent or agree to a lesser measure of damages in recognition of service provided or for other compelling reasons.|
|(4)||Appeal Process - a recipient found to be in default may appeal the finding to the Board in writing. The recipient shall also have the right to request a hearing before the Board to appeal a finding of default or enforcement of the penalty provision. If a recipient fails to appear for a scheduled hearing before the Board, the recipient shall forfeit all rights of appeal. The Board shall consider appeals from recipients prior to enforcement of the penalty provision.|
|(5)||Enforcement of Penalty - the penalty provision for default shall be enforced by a letter of demand for payment from the Board to the recipient. If the recipient fails to respond to the letter of demand for payment, collection shall be pursued through the civil courts.|
|(1)||The Board shall monitor compliance primarily through information submitted by the recipient in an annual report, which shall include information about the recipient and about the recipient's practice as it relates to the service obligations of the contract.|
|(2)||The Board may also monitor compliance through on-site visits by Board staff or contracted compliance officers to the recipient's practice during the contract period. Such on-site visits may be unannounced.|
|(3)||The Board, at its discretion, may monitor compliance through other appropriate means.|
|(1)||Funds for all awards granted through the Dentists for Rural Areas Assistance program shall be allocated from funding appropriated to the Georgia Board for Physician Workforce by the Georgia General Assembly for that purpose.|
|(1)||The Georgia Department of Community Health shall maintain appropriate records in accordance with the provisions of the Georgia Administrative Attachment Statute, O.C.G.A. § 50-4-3.|
It is the intention of the Georgia Board for Physician Workforce to carry out the purpose of the Dentists for Rural Areas Assistance Program to recruit dentists to practice in rural areas of Georgia. It is also the intention of the Georgia Board for Physician Workforce to assure due process in the enforcement of the provisions of the 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 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:
|D.||Enforcement of Penalty