Apr 18, 2019
NYC Health + Hospitals, the nation’s largest public health care system serving more than one million New Yorkers annually, today announced that the health system was able to secure more than $2 million in special loan forgiveness grants for 16 physicians in exchange for their commitment to continue serving needy New Yorkers in the Health + Hospitals system. The 16 physicians – with specialties ranging from psychiatry, pediatrics and emergency medicine – currently practice in the health system’s hospitals and community based health centers. The NYC Health + Hospitals physicians will receive $40,000 per year for up to three years to pay down their medical school debt. OneCity Health, the NYC Health + Hospitals PPS, raised awareness for the program across the system and supported doctors in their application process as part of the goals of the State’s Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment (DSRIP) Program to increase access to care.
The grants were provided by the state’s Doctors Across New York Physician Loan Repayment program and will result in more than 50 years of combined service to support the Health + Hospitals’ comprehensive, multi-year redesign to build a competitive, sustainable organization that will continue to offer high-quality and accessible health care to the people of New York City. According to the Association of Medical Colleges, the average medical student loan debt was $192,520 in 2018; the average cost of four years of medical school at a private institution was more than $278,000.
“We are so pleased to help this impressive and diverse group of doctors obtain an added incentive and financial relief to continue giving back in communities that desperately need their expertise and dedication,” said Mitchell Katz, MD, President and CEO, NYC Health + Hospitals. “This is one of other loan forgiveness programs available to physicians who want to serve in our essential health system and build a career like no other, in a city like no other.”
“As an immigrant, I feel a profound sense of pride in practicing in a diverse and inclusive setting like Bellevue and getting to learn about patient’s different backgrounds,” said Dr. Reza Parungao, a psychiatrist at NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue in Manhattan. “This grant will ease the burden of having a substantial student loan debt. I feel less stress in knowing that I can continue practicing primary care in an academic and safety net setting. Often times, physicians leave for a higher paying private practice position because of the financial reality of having to repay loans.”
“It was my mission statement when applying medical school to work with the underserved, and I have kept that as my mission statement throughout medical school, residency and now as an attending,” said Dr. Robyn Levinson a pediatrician at NYC Health + Hospitals/Gotham Health, Belvis in the Bronx. “I was taught from a young age to always give back to those less fortunate than I. Also, I enjoyed working with H+H as a resident, which made my choice to come back as an attending very easy. And I love working with my coworkers.”
“Doctors Across New York enables students from all backgrounds to become physicians and improve health care in underserved areas,” said Assembly Health Committee Chair Richard N. Gottfried. “By combining loan forgiveness and public service, these grants ensure both that students can meet their financial needs and that public health systems can recruit and keep practitioners.”
The NYC Health + Hospitals physicians who received the loan repayment grants were recognized by Dr. Katz at breakfast on Friday, April 5. The physicians receiving grants to pay off or pay down their debt are:
The Doctors Across New York program is a state funded initiative enacted in 2008 to help train and place physicians in underserved communities in a variety of settings and specialties to care for New York’s diverse population. The program requires a 3-year service obligation for a maximum amount of $120,000. On average, the program issues 75 three-year awards.
Those interested in becoming a primary care physician at NYC Health + Hospitals can learn more at docs4nyc.org.