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American College of Surgeons Supports Bill to Create New Frontline Providers Loan Repayment Program
Date:6/17/2009

Agrees with Inclusion of General Surgeons, Otolaryngologists and

Ophthalmologists as Eligible Participants

CHICAGO, June 17 /PRNewswire/ -- The American College of Surgeons (ACS) supports legislation introduced yesterday by U.S. Reps. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) and Zack Space (D-Ohio), which includes the participation of general surgeons, otolaryngologists and ophthalmologists in a new Frontline Providers Loan Repayment Program called the Access to Frontline Health Care Act of 2009. The bill that was introduced would amend Title III of the Public Health Service Act and is a process similar to the National Health Service Corps Loan Repayment Program.

"The Frontline Providers Loan Repayment Program is an important step in accomplishing two important goals, which are to better serve the health needs of those who live in underserved areas and to encourage more medical students to choose to practice in specialties now suffering from a shortage of physicians," said Thomas R. Russell, MD, FACS, executive director of the American College of Surgeons.

ACS believes this new program will not only help eliminate disparities in the availability and delivery of surgical and other health care in America, but also will increase public service opportunities and help relieve medical school debt for surgeons.

Eligible health care providers would sign a commitment to practice in a designated "frontline scarcity area" for at least two years in exchange for student loan repayment. A frontline scarcity area is a Health Profession Shortage Area (HPSA), or an area designated by a state which has a shortage of "frontline care services."

"The American College of Surgeons has a long-standing policy of advocating for access to affordable, high-quality and safe surgical care delivered in a timely and appropriate manner," Russell added. "This policy goal requires that the U.S. has a well-trained and available surgical workforce to meet the needs of all surgical patients. The proposed Frontline Providers Loan Repayment Program is a significant first step toward accomplishing these objectives."

About the American College of Surgeons

The American College of Surgeons is a scientific and educational organization of surgeons that was founded in 1913 to raise the standards of surgical practice and to improve the care of the surgical patient. The College is dedicated to the ethical and competent practice of surgery. Its achievements have significantly influenced the course of scientific surgery in America and have established it as an important advocate for all surgical patients. The College has more than 74,000 members and is the largest organization of surgeons in the world. For more information, visit www.facs.org.


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SOURCE The American College of Surgeons
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