Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Guest entry: Advocating for a loan repayment bill that could impact occupational therapy


A number of my students at Keuka College have been working on policy and advocacy projects that I wanted to share.  The students researched a topic of their interest, met with their legislators, and developed a broad action plan to increase awareness of their topics.  

This information is provided courtesy of Nagella AL-Balushi, a graduate student who is interested in promoting a bill that improves health professional workforce distribution via a loan repayment program when practitioners work in underserved areas.

"Greetings fellow OT students and future colleagues,

I am a graduate OT student seeking opinions, feedback and thoughts about a legislative bill that would potentially have a great impact on the field of OT if passed​!

This act would have three main professional consequences including establishing a new​​​ ​federal loan repayment system​​​, ​increasing the overall distribution of our ​health care services, and ultimately making the role of OT more commonly understood across the nation.

The Access to Frontline Health Care Act is designed to provide a federal loan repayment system for health care professionals (including Occupational Therapy) in exchange for two years of service at a federally regulated agency, such as hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, and schools located in underserved areas.

The Access to Frontline Health Care Act was drafted in 2015 by Congressman David Loebsack of Iowa and ​thanks to his time and effort in creating this Act, the Access to Frontline Health Care Act would be able to save various working professionals in healthcare from the despair of endless student loan payments.

 The ​reasoning behind establishing the loan repayment system is to incentivize recent grads to work in remote areas to ​create a more balanced distribution of health care workers across the country. ​ Not only will you​, the professional,​ receive aid in paying back your student loans, but more importantly you will have the ability to help those who truly need it and don't have regular access to your services! ​

On the biggest scale, by providing services in areas where OT or other health professions are not commonly found, we are diversifying our profession and spreading awareness of what Occupational Therapy is to people who would not normally have reliable access to our services.

The infographic attached ​is provided to give you a visual explanation of the Access to Frontline Health Care Act, and the overall impact it would have the U.S. health care system. As mentioned before, I would love​ ​to hear your opinions about the Act and its potential effect on the OT profession. ​

Regardless if it is positive or negative, all feedback is beneficial!!

Thank you for your time and good luck in your future endeavors!
Nagella"

CLICK HERE to see the infographic in your browser.

Link to Bill: https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-bill/1707

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