The House and Senate have been negotiating a large, bipartisan mental health package over much of the past year. The most recent draft of this package in the House (H.R. 2646) includes Section 722, which reauthorizes the pediatric subspecialty loan repayment program (PSLRP). The PSLRP was a discretionary program originally authorized in the Affordable Care Act and would have provided up to $35,000 in loan repayment for each year that a pediatric medical/surgical subspecialist or pediatric mental health provider served in an underserved area, for a maximum of three years. The program was ultimately never funded, due in large part to politics surrounding the ACA, and expired in 2014.
The Pediatric Endocrine Society has joined a coalition of Pediatric Medical and Surgical associations to submit a letter supporting the reauthorization of this program. A reauthorization of the PSLRP in the context of proposed mental health legislation would give us a new opportunity to address the ongoing shortage of pediatric medical and surgical subspecialists as well as pediatric mental health providers across the nation.