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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Eye On Boise

Loan forgiveness program succeeds in drawing psychiatrist to State Hospital North

Lawmakers’ agreement last year to allow State Hospital South and State Hospital North to access up to $85,000 a year each in endowment funds for student loan forgiveness for physicians and other high-level medical professors who commit to come to work at the hospitals is paying off, state mental health services director Ross Edmunds told lawmakers this morning. A psychiatrist position as State Hospital North has now been filled, and the new doctor is also the medical director for the facility. “It’s just fantastic – it’s so great to have him there,” Edmunds said. “We haven’t had a true medical director at the hospital there for some time.”

The lack of the psychiatrist had forced the hospital to cut back the number of patients it was allowed to admit. The new director had moved from Texas to Idaho and was working at St. Luke’s in Boise before being hired at the Orofino hospital.

Psychiatric nurse practitioners, psychologists and physician assistants also are eligible for varying amounts of loan reimbursement if they come to work at either of the two hospitals; six individuals have qualified so far. Edmunds said the hospitals aren’t yet using the full allocation. Physicians are eligible for the highest amount, at $15,000 for their first year of employment, $20,000 for the second and third, and $25,000 in the fourth year.

Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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