AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - The Texas Senate has approved a proposal offering to help repay student loans for psychiatrists and other mental health medical professionals who provide care in underserved parts of the state.
Approved Monday, Georgetown Republican Sen. Charles Schwertner’s bill now heads to the House.
It provides help repaying student loans for medical personnel who provide services in “designated mental health professional shortage areas” around Texas.
Those qualifying would also have to treat Medicaid patients or low-income children, or people confined to certain state-run correctional facilities.
According to a recent report prepared for the Legislature, fewer than 2,000 licensed psychiatrists were offering direct care in Texas as of September 2013.
The same analysis found that 199 of the state’s 254 counties were designated as mental health professional shortage areas.
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