When am I committed to HPSP

Discussion in 'Military Medicine' started by phoenixdoctor, May 16, 2014.

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  1. phoenixdoctor


    May 16, 2014
    I will be starting medical school this fall and got as far as applying and being accepted into the USAF HPSP program. After a lot of soul-searching, I have decided that the HPSP route is not exactly what I want to do. At this point I have signed a form stating "I accept my selection and agree to serve on active duty for the specified period of time stated in the HPSP contract that I intend to enter into upon commissioning." However, I have not been commissioned yet or signed my contract (for those familiar with the military lingo, I am waiting to be placed on the scroll). My question is this: am I already committed to the USAF HPSP program and cannot back out? That is, am I unable to rescind my acceptance?
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  3. orbitsurgMD

    orbitsurgMD Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Dec 27, 2005
    If you have not signed the contract document or been sworn for your commission or accepted any payment, then this appears to represent a letter of intent, but not a contract. They may try to pressure you into signing, using the LOI as leverage, but if you did not get sworn or sign the contract or accept consideration--here, a payment to you or your school for your fees--then you are still free not to sign or accept the HPSP.

    Did they give you a copy of the contract itself to read and sign? Do you even know exactly what the term of service is the letter refers to or under what terms?
    Last edited: May 17, 2014
    Aloft085 likes this.
  4. MaximusD

    MaximusD Anatomically Incorrect 10+ Year Member

    It's not legally-binding until you sign the contract. Don't let them leverage you.

    You may want to retain a lawyer if they give you headaches.
    Aloft085 likes this.
  5. IlDestriero

    IlDestriero Ether Man 7+ Year Member

    You won't need a lawyer. If you didn't sign your contract and get sworn in, you have no obligation. Just tell them you changed your mind, appreciate the opportunity and thank them for their service.
    Aloft085 likes this.
  6. phoenixdoctor


    May 16, 2014
    Thank you all so much for your responses! You have made me breathe a little bit easier. To answer your question orbitsurgMD: No, they have not given me the contract to sign or given many any sort of document related to the terms mentioned in the letter of acceptance. Just curious, but where did you get this information regarding when I am committed?
  7. IlDestriero

    IlDestriero Ether Man 7+ Year Member

    I lived the dream.
    You signing some letter saying you're going to accept the scholarship doesn't commit you to anything. It's like a letter of intent to try to boost you off the wait list somewhere.
    You're committed when you sign the real contract and raise you're right hand. Good luck getting out after that.
  8. aklark


    Jan 9, 2014
    I commissioned before signing the HPSP contract and my recruiter was insistent that I was not officially obligated to participate until I signed the contract. If you had taken the oath but never sign the HPSP contract, I'm not sure how they could obligate you to participate in the HPSP program. You did neither, so you should be fine.

    That contract is the legal document that establishes your entitlements and terms of repayment. There's also a clause in the contract that says you're automatically dis enrolled from the program if you never start school.
  9. phoenixdoctor


    May 16, 2014
    Okay. I guess I will call my recruiter on Monday and send an email. So, llDestriero, if you could go back in time, would you do it all again?
  10. IlDestriero

    IlDestriero Ether Man 7+ Year Member

    Absolutely! I wanted to serve, and didn't need the scholarship at all. I am probably not the usual HPSPer. I got lucky and made smart decisions and everything worked out with my career trajectory and my wife's as well. I would expect that is not the norm, and if you polled others, many would say the opposite of everything I said.
    I joined pre war and was active duty during 9/11, Iraq and Afghanistan. It was an amazing time to serve and I'm proud to have done my small part. That's the unvaluable component of HPSP. How do you quantify the value of providing high quality care to soldiers and their families, during war time no less. You can't. Is it the same as providing high quality care to other members of the community? IMHO, no it is not. Though it was not enough to keep me in. ;)
    If you asked would I do it NOW, and roll the dice again and take my chances? No, probably not. Things are very different now, including the quality of the applicants and your future peers, though I am told it is getting competitive again.
    Though it is worth noting that the value of the scholarship has increased quite a bit with the post 9/11 GI bill, doubled school tuition, etc.
    Think long and hard about why you want the scholarship, your commitment to serving, and what potential sacrifices you find acceptable before deciding one way or the other.
    Aloft085, DermViser and Apollyon like this.
  11. Perrotfish

    Perrotfish Has an MD in Horribleness 10+ Year Member

    May 26, 2007
    Before you sign you need to understand the foloowing concepts: GMO tours, the military match, and military vs civilian pay. If you don't know exactly what I meant by all those terms defer signing until you do. You should also be clear what rights you do not have once you sign: you can't quit the military, you can't refuse to move if they want you to, and you cannot refuse to deploy.

    If you understand those concepts and still wish to sign then I would consider signing.
    Aloft085, idq1i and HighPriest like this.
  12. MaximusD

    MaximusD Anatomically Incorrect 10+ Year Member

    Ildest, it is a common plight amongst doctors to not realize when they need legal help. That said, you're likely right. If they say you're legally obligated, that would be a good time to have a lawyer send them a letter or to stopby to speak with their CO. The military is a wonderful organization, but if it's not for you don't let them strongarm you.

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