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Senate Approves Hutchinson Bill

HARRISBURG – The state Senate has approved Sen. Scott Hutchinson’s legislation that would allow more health professionals to participate in the Medical Officer Health Incentive Program.

“My legislation would clarify and expand the list of critical specialties for which there is a shortage in the Pennsylvania National Guard,” said Hutchinson (R-21) of Senate Bill 162. “It would also adjust monthly educational stipends for dentists, physician assistants, nurses, doctors and behavioral health specialists to help them pay their high tuition debt.”

Act 78 of 2014, of which Hutchinson was the prime sponsor, created the Medical Officer or Health Officer Incentive Program, providing a tuition reimbursement incentive to those who qualified through their time in the armed services. This program began to provide a solution to the lack of health care providers in the National Guard. Even though the program was successful in luring health care providers into National Guard service, some health professionals, like dentists and physician assistants, were inadvertently left out of the program.

“Act 78 was a resounding success, bringing numerous health professionals into the National Guard to fill a crucial need,” Hutchinson said. “This legislation will strengthen the program and allow even more health professionals to take advantage of this opportunity.”

SB162 now heads to the state House of Representatives for consideration.

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