Geriatricians Loan Forgiveness Fact Sheet


Legislation to provide loan forgiveness for health care professionals who enter geriatric specialties was introduced in the 111th Congress (2009-2010), and it is anticipated that it will be reintroduced in the 112th Congress.

H.R. 1457, the “Geriatrics Loan Forgiveness Act of 2009,” would amend the Public Health Service Act to include each year of advanced training in geriatric professions as a year of obligated service under the National Health Corps Service Loan Repayment Program. Specifically it would forgive $35,000 of education debt incurred by students for each year of advanced training required to become certified in geriatrics.  The bill was introduced by Representatives Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), on March 12, 2009, with three original cosponsors, Representatives Ron Klein, (D-FL), James McGovern (D-MA), and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL).  Representatives DeLauro and Ros-Lehtinen have been the primary sponsors of the bill since its first introduction in the House of Representatives in 2005.

This legislation is intended to provide incentives for health care professionals to enter geriatric specialties to alleviate the serious shortage in those fields both now and in the future.   

AAGP Position

AAGP strongly supports this bill to allow provide for loan repayment programs for geriatric specialists.  The complex problems associated with aging require a supply of physicians with special training in geriatrics. Although geriatric psychiatry is a relatively small medical specialty, it is one for which demand is growing rapidly as the population ages and the “baby boom” generation nears retirement.  Currently, issues of aging, including geriatric mental health, are inadequately emphasized at the medical school, internship and residency levels. It is critical that action be taken now to alleviate the serious shortage of physicians and psychiatrists trained to meet the special needs of older people. Such legislation would provide important incentives for medical graduates to enter geriatric specialties.

 (July 20, 2011)