An Evaluation of the Effectiveness of the Alabama Board of Medical Scholarship Awards

The Alabama Board of Medical Scholarship Awards (BMSA) is an Alabama legislature program that was created as an incentive to increase the supply of primary care physicians (family practice, internal medicine, and pediatrics) and encourage their practice in the state’s rural medically underserved communities. Application for educational loans are available to all students enrolled in medical schools in the State of Alabama. Each loan recipient enters into a contractual agreement with the Board of Medical Scholarship Awards whereby the recipient agrees to practice primary care in a medically underserved community. For default or termination of a loan the recipient is required to repay the principle of the loan plus a penalty of up to 200% of the total principle amount of the loan.

The failure of a loan recipient to perform his or her contractual agreement with the Board of Medical Scholarship Awards or to pay the amount he or she is liable for under this program shall constitute a ground for the revocation of his or her license to practice medicine.

143 primary care residency graduates have completed or are currently fulfilling their service obligations.

The effectiveness of the BMSA educational loan program was evaluated using criteria based on stated intent as expressed in the Alabama legislature and standard metrics for measuring outcomes of educational loans, scholarships and incentives. The criteria used to evaluate the effectiveness this program were:

  • Increase the supply of primary care physicians in the state of Alabama
  • Encourage practice in the state’s rural medically underserved communities
  • Attract young primary care physicians to rural Alabama (replace Alabama’s aging rural primary care physician workforce)
  • Prudent use of state dollars

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