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Apply for CalHealthCares $300K student loan repayment or practice support grant

Application period extended through March 11

January 27, 2022 3447

Quick Summary:

Eligible dentists may apply for either an educational loan repayment up to $300,000 in exchange for a five-year service obligation or a practice support grant of up to $300,000 for establishing, expanding or relocating a practice in specific counties with the highest patient need for Medi-Cal dental services. 

Feb. 23 update: Application cycle extended through March 11

Physicians for a Healthy California announced that it extended the 2021-22 CalHealthCares application deadline from Feb. 25 to March 11. CalHealthCares will also host a live Q&A webinar for interested applicants from noon to 1 p.m. on March 1. The webinar registration link is on the homepage of the CalHealthCares website.

Jan. 27: CalHealthCares, overseen by the California Department of Health Care Services, is designed to expand access to care by incentivizing dentists to serve Medi-Cal beneficiaries by repaying educational debt or covering eligible practice-related expenses. 

Eligible dentists may apply for either an educational loan repayment up to $300,000 in exchange for a five-year service obligation or a practice support grant of up to $300,000 for establishing, expanding or relocating a practice in specific counties with the highest patient need for Medi-Cal dental services. 

The program launched in July 2019 and is funded by Proposition 56 — the state tobacco tax co-sponsored by CDA and passed by voters in 2016. Since its launch, the loan repayment program and practice support grant has awarded approximately $29 million to 119 California dentists. 

“Over the last three years, the CalHealthCares program has successfully created a pathway to debt relief for California dentists while simultaneously increasing access to care for underserved communities,” said CDA President Ariane Terlet, DDS. “This is truly a program that supports the core needs of dentists and Medi-Cal patients statewide, and we at CDA are proud of the tremendous impact this program continues to make.” 

Applicant requirements  

Applicants who may be current licensed practitioners or in dental residency training must meet the following criteria: 

  • Have an unrestricted license, practice in California and be in good standing with their licensing board. 
  • Maintain a patient caseload comprised of a minimum of 30% Medi-Cal beneficiaries and within 10% of the Medi-Cal patient caseload proposed in their application. 
  • Have graduated within the last five years (since Jan. 1, 2017) or will be graduating from a residency or fellowship program and moving toward employment no later than June 30, 2022. 
  • Dentists applying for the practice support grant must have graduated from a dental school or residency program within the last 15 years (since Jan. 1, 2007). 
  • May not be participating in another disqualifying loan repayment program or practice support grant as of June 30. 
  • Be an active enrolled Medi-Cal provider without existing suspensions, disbarments or revocations or have submitted their application to DHCS to become a Medi-Cal provider. 
  • Have existing educational loan debt incurred while pursuing a medical or dental degree. 
  •  Committed to expand, relocate or open a new practice in one of 17 target counties designated as high need.

The application period runs Jan. 24 through Feb. 25; however, applicants can take advantage of the early review period by submitting their applications no later than Feb. 4 by 5 p.m. Applications submitted by this deadline will receive feedback regarding any inconsistencies with the option to revise and resubmit their application. Awardees are expected to be notified in June.

Dentists interested in the program can apply through the CalHealthCares website and may subscribe to notifications about the grants by emailing [email protected] with “subscribe” in the subject line.

120 dentists have received CalHealthCares loan repayment

CalHealthCares has awarded over $202 million to 755 physicians and 120 dentists and has increased access to care for thousands of Medi-Cal patients. An audit of 30% of CalHealthCares awardees from the first cohort revealed that dentists' average proposed Medi-Cal caseload was 61.60% and their actual average current caseload was 78.61%. The audit was conducted by Physicians for a Healthy California and the California Department of Health Care Services to ensure program compliance.

More information about the program, including links to several informational webinars, application instructions and business plan guidelines, is available at www.calhealthcares.org.