Unless the context clearly requires otherwise, the definitions in this section apply throughout this chapter.
(1) "Board" means the higher education coordinating board.
(2) "Department" means the state department of health.
(3) "Eligible education and training programs" means education and training programs approved by the department that lead to eligibility for a credential as a credentialed health care professional.
(4) "Eligible expenses" means reasonable expenses associated with the costs of acquiring an education such as tuition, books, equipment, fees, room and board, and other expenses approved by the board.
(5) "Eligible student" means a student who has been accepted into an eligible education or training program and has a declared intention to serve in a health professional shortage area upon completion of the education or training program.
(6) "Forgiven" or "to forgive" or "forgiveness" means to render health care services in a health professional shortage area in the state of Washington in lieu of monetary repayment.
(7) "Health professional shortage areas" means those areas where credentialed health care professionals are in short supply as a result of geographic maldistribution or as the result of a short supply of credentialed health care professionals in specialty health care areas and where vacancies exist in serious numbers that jeopardize patient care and pose a threat to the public health and safety. The department shall determine health professional shortage areas. In determining health professional shortage areas in the state the department may be guided by applicable federal standards for "health professional shortage areas," and "medically underserved areas," and "medically underserved populations."
(8) "Credentialed health care profession" means a health care profession regulated by a disciplining authority in the state of Washington and designated as a profession having shortages of credentialed health care professionals in the state.
(9) "Credentialed health care professional" means a person regulated by a disciplining authority in the state of Washington to practice a health care profession.
(10) "Loan repayment" means a loan that is paid in full or in part if the participant renders health care services in a health professional shortage area as defined by the department.
(11) "Nonshortage rural area" means a nonurban area of the state of Washington that has not been designated as a rural physician shortage area. The department shall identify the nonshortage rural areas of the state.
(12) "Participant" means a credentialed health care professional who has received a loan repayment award and has commenced practice as a credentialed health care provider in a designated health professional shortage area or an eligible student who has received a scholarship under this program.
(13) "Program" means the health professional loan repayment and scholarship program.
(14) "Required service obligation" means an obligation by the participant to provide health care services in a health professional shortage area for a period not less than three years and not more than five years.
(15) "Rural physician shortage area" means rural geographic areas where primary care physicians are in short supply as a result of geographic maldistributions and where their limited numbers jeopardize patient care and pose a threat to public health and safety. The department shall designate rural physician shortage areas.
(16) "Sponsoring community" means a rural hospital or hospitals as authorized in chapter 70.41
RCW, a rural health care facility or facilities as authorized in chapter 70.175
RCW, or a city or county government or governments.
(17) "Scholarship" means a loan that is forgiven in whole or in part if the recipient renders health care service in a designated health professional shortage area in the state.
[Statutory Authority: 1991 c 332. WSR 92-03-002, § 250-25-030, filed 1/3/92, effective 2/3/92.]