Questions about the NHSC

Discussion in 'NHSC | PHS | IHS' started by smq123, Jan 6, 2009.

  1. smq123

    smq123 John William Waterhouse
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    Hey -

    So as a new assistant moderator for this forum, and a current NHSC scholar, if anyone has any questions about the scholarship, feel free to either post them here or PM me. I will either sticky this thread, or combine the questions into a "FAQ" for this forum.

    - smq123 :)
     
  2. DHG

    DHG Senior Member
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    Hello! Maybe you can answer this for me.

    Are you actually commissioned into the Public Health Service while receiving the scholarship money (ie while you are in school)?

    If so, does this time count towards retirement or years in service?

    Or, is this completely a civilian program?

    If completely civilian, can you commission into the PHS after graduation and be stationed at a site that is considered underserved (like with the IHS, maybe?) in order to pay back your time?
     
  3. smq123

    smq123 John William Waterhouse
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    You are not commissioned into the PHS while you are in school. Your time in school and your time in residency do NOT count towards your service payback.

    Your service payback time starts as soon as you finish residency.

    Yes, you can complete your service payback through the IHS, Bureau of Prisons, and ICE (formerly known as INS).
     
  4. DHG

    DHG Senior Member
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    Can you pay back your time as a civilian employee of IHS? In other words, do you have a choice whether you are commissioned or civilian?

    Also, do you know if NHSC scholarship recipients are ineligible to apply for SRCOSTEP during their last year?
     
  5. smq123

    smq123 John William Waterhouse
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    You can be commissioned, a civilian, or directly hired by a tribe.

    I'm not sure. That probably depends on what field you are looking at. Since I believe that medical students are basically excluded from SRCOSTEP anyway (since they need to do a residency, and would have defer their PHS payback for several years), they're probably not eligible.

    It looks like, based on your previous posts, that your husband is a dentist, and is looking into PHS/IHS payback?

    I'm not sure if I see the value of applying for BOTH the NHSC and the SRCOSTEP, even if you were allowed to. That would just add required service payback time onto your NHSC requirement, for minimal monetary benefit. There is almost no way to shave time off of your NHSC payback requirement time.
     
    #5 smq123, Jan 17, 2009
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2009
  6. DHG

    DHG Senior Member
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    He's pre-dent actually. I'm in pharmacy and will graduate next year. The reason COSTEP has value is that the time you are in school receiving the scholarship counts towards years of service and retirement. Not such a huge deal for younger people but he will be 40 when he gets out of dental school, assuming he gets in the first application cycle he applies to. 41 if it takes 2 tries. :) Knocking a year off that 20 year commitment (if you aim to make a career of it) means a lot in his situation.

    One last quick question: Do you know if you can you take NHSC (or HPSP) and also apply for SLRP after graduation, or is it just one or the other?

    Thanks for your information and good luck in your program.
     
  7. smq123

    smq123 John William Waterhouse
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    :confused::confused::confused: Huh?

    Now I'm just confused. A TWENTY year commitment? What scholarship program is he looking at that would require a 20 year service payback?

    The only way you could have a 20 year service payback with the NHSC is if he went to 20 years of dental school. I grant you that I'm not in dental school, but if it's anything like med school, you'd go crazy. Four years of school is plenty!

    I don't think that you cannot apply for any loan repayment programs until after you have finished your previous service payback requirements. So, while you still have an outstanding payback requirement (in either the NHSC or the HPSP), you can't apply for the LRP.
     
  8. DHG

    DHG Senior Member
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    Yes I understand that the commitment is only one year for one year. Four years of scholarship equals four years commitment. HOWEVER, if you plan to make a career of it, in any federal or military job, you must put in 20 years of service to retire with full military benefits. This is what I was referring to.

    So you can apply for SLRP after your NHSC or HPSP commitment is paid off? It's relevant in this case because HPSP and NHSC don't pay until you actually enter D-School. So the SLRP would be for debt incurred prior. Don't know it it's allowed-- to apply for SLRP if you were a NHSC or HPSP recipient.
     
  9. smq123

    smq123 John William Waterhouse
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    Sorry, there was a typo in my post that made it unclear.

    You canNOT apply for the SLRP while you are still paying off your previous service commitment. Once your service commitment has been paid back, then I believe that you CAN apply for the SLRP.

    Ahh, I see what you were referring to now. Sorry for the misunderstanding. :oops:
     
  10. DHG

    DHG Senior Member
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    Good to know, thanks.:thumbup:
     
  11. smq123

    smq123 John William Waterhouse
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    Received this series of questions by message/PM:

    1. Yes, it is one year of service for one year of scholarship, with a minimum of two years of service payback. So even if you only accept the scholarship for one year, you still have to do two years of service payback.

    2. Yes, you can accept just a two year scholarship. That is what I did.

    3. Yes, you get a monthly stipend as part of your scholarship. As of right now, it is a little over $1100 per month. You also get a large sum of money in the beginning of the year to cover other incidental costs.

    4. You can't necessarily choose where you want to practice. There are certain stipulations - it has to be a practice that has a demonstrated need for dentists, based on its Health Professionals Shortage Area (HPSA) score.

    If you manage to find a job in your desired location that meets the criteria set out by the government, then you're golden. If you do NOT find a job by a certain deadline, then the government will randomly place you wherever they feel that they need you the most.

    5. How much you get paid during your service payback depends on how much the individual site can afford to pay you. It should be "competitive" with other jobs in the area, but that's not a guarantee.

    6. Yes, the program is quite competitive. I don't have the exact stats for this year, but I think that, in the past, they receive 11 applications for every award that they can give out. So yes, it is fairly competitive.
     
  12. NewmansOwn

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    Hey-

    Thanks for taking charge here.

    A few questions, if you'll permit:

    1) While fellowships are generally not allowed after completion of one's mandated primary care residency, I remember from a previous post of yours that a child psychiatry fellowship might be an exception. Any thoughts on the feasibility of this?

    2) As a scholar yourself, have you found the NHSC to be well-managed and responsive to your needs and concerns regarding the scholarship and your eventual payback?

    3) One can't help but hear the oft-quoted "all NHSC scholars end up on a rig in the Aleutians or at a prison." How much difficulty do you anticipate finding a location that, while still serving a needy population, is conducive to your personal mental health?

    4) Does the NHSC involve itself in any way in your residency selection? That is to say, do they have any amount of influence over where you choose to complete your primary care residency?

    Thank you!

     
  13. smq123

    smq123 John William Waterhouse
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    Doing such a fellowship would definitely be possible. The NHSC would have to approve it on a case-by-case basis, though. It probably depends on the year that you apply for a fellowship, in terms of how many they think that their system can support, how badly they need psychiatrists RIGHT NOW, etc.

    Well...not really. :oops:

    I had an issue regarding my stipend. When I called the NHSC the first time, I got one answer. When I called them a second time, I got an entirely different answer. They then told me to call my regional supervisor :)confused:) who was never in the office. Eventually, after several voicemails, she emailed me and told me to call someone else. When I did call, the person that I talked to had no idea of what I was talking about.

    <shrug> It's a government organization, so it's about as organized and efficient as one would expect. In order to get things done, you really have to be persistent and refuse to take "no" for an answer - both while you are a scholar and while you are looking for placement. Even then, it might not be enough.

    From NHSC alumni that I have talked to, finding a location that is appealing to you requires some persistence, some hard work, some luck, and a bit of flexibility.

    It's hard for me to answer this question at this stage. There are certainly horror stories that you hear of NHSC scholars who were unable to find jobs that suited them, and were "shipped out" to Nowheresville, Montana. I think that it's somewhat easier to find a job in the area where you did residency, and in an area that has had some experience with hiring NHSC scholars (i.e. an area that has been an underserved area for some time). That being said, my own personal difficulties will depend on where I want to go after residency, which depends on a lot of things.

    No, the NHSC was very hands-off during the residency selection process. You can do residency wherever you want.

    That being said, the NHSC does offer seminars on how to pick a residency program, based on your needs as an NHSC scholar. You definitely want a program that has a reputation for turning out good general internists/pediatricians/OB-gyns, etc. You know that, when you leave residency, you will be working as a generalist for a few years. Therefore, you definitely need a program that will prepare you to see a wide variety of patients and issues.
     
  14. alarise

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    I understand the review board is very secretive about giving out any information regarding the criteria used to evaluate applicants, why do you think that may be?
     
  15. beyondcategory

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    I actually had a question about the tax on the stipends provided. Is the estimated amount that you will be taxed provided to you for budgeting purposes or where would one obtain that information? Thanks!
     
  16. smq123

    smq123 John William Waterhouse
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    :confused: I think it's because they themselves don't have a set list of criteria, but probably rely on an overall "feel" of your application. This is all a guess on my part, though.

    It's taxed the same way any income that you'd make from a regular job is taxed - it's just income tax. You get a W2 form every year.
     
  17. matlabsux

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    Can any scholar out there tell me if the awards seem to be weighted more towards students in MD or Do schools, or Private vs. Public schools? Is there a list of awardees medical education sites published anywhere by the NHSC?
     
  18. smq123

    smq123 John William Waterhouse
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    As far as I can tell, no there is no such data published. That being said, I don't think where you attend (DO/MD/Public/Private) makes a big difference.
     
  19. montessori2md

    montessori2md Member
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    The application clearly states their priorities:
    1) current scholars (contract renewal)
    2) disadvantaged students
    3) those who seem genuinely interested in service in underserved areas.

    They give out very few of these scholarships to MDs. There will only be about 100 scholarships this year, given to psych, NP, PA, and dental students. Half of those will be in the disadvantaged category. That leaves you with fewer than 40 possible scholarships.
     
  20. tesla motors ss

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    Hello I hope that you could still answer questions. I am interested in OMS. Will i be able to begin my commitment after specializing. And if so how could I search sites online for OMS jobs. It seems when i search they only differentiate by profession such as nursing doctor or dentist vs dental specialties. Thank You.
     

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