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SHARP Loan Repayment for Primary Health-care Practitioners

A Message from Governor Bill Walker

Proper health care solutions are crucial to the future of our state and the overall vitality of our people. Alaska’s current health care system is in need of changes that empower patients and health care providers, increase the number of providers throughout the state, and decrease costs for both the state and individuals.

-DHSS biannual external newsletter, “Winter Update:  2014-2015”

SHARP: Providing Support-for-Service to Health Care Practitioners


Overview

The purpose of SHARP is to address the worsening shortage of certain health professionals in the state by increasing the number and improving the distribution of healthcare professionals who provide direct patient care.  SHARP particularly focuses on increasing the access to healthcare for higher-needs populations by working to increase the recruitment and retention of selected health care practitioners.  SHARP provides support-for-service to practitioners in the form of either repayment of qualifying education loans and/or payment of direct incentive, pursuant to a signed SHARP contract with the State of Alaska.

Read about Alaska's SHARP Program in the Alaska Journal of Commerce.
NPR Series "Our Land" Features SHARP Program Physician Working in Klukwan.
Check out the article on the SHARP Program in Northwest Pulse, the e-newsletter of the Northwest Regional Primary Care Association.

SHARP-III

Alaska’s SHARP Program has a new component currently in development: SHARP-III. SHARP-III will offer a wider array of employer sites and be available to more occupations. Learn about SHARP-III during two informational workshops on June 27 and June 30.


SHARP-I

The purpose of the SHARP-I program option is to recruit and retain selected primary health care professionals to serve in federally designated Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSA) in exchange for the repayment of qualifying educational loans, pursuant to a signed SHARP MOA with the State of Alaska.  

Service Contract

Interested parties can view an inspection copy of the current SHARP-I Memorandum of Agreement:

Funding

SHARP is operated by the State of Alaska, Department of Health and Social Services, and is jointly supported by funds from several sources including the State of Alaska’s General Fund, the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority, and the U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services, Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA), and required partial employer match.

What People are Saying About SHARP

 
SHARP is working and we're making progress!

SHARP Employer Sites Seeking Clinicians

SHARP-II:

  • SHARP-II is currently not taking any new clinician applications. Any questions about all matters regarding SHARP should be directed to:
  • Robert Sewell, Ph.D., Program Manager
    SHARP Program, Alaska DHSS
    (907) 465-4065 phone
    E-mail: robert.sewell@alaska.gov

Learn More about SHARP-II

 

SHARP-II was established by the passage of AS 18.29 in Alaska’s 27th Legislature, and is also known as the Health Care Professions Loan Repayment and Incentive Program (Chapter 25, SLA 12).  It is exclusively supported by non-federal sources, including the State General Fund and required partial employer-match.  The loan repayments and direct inventive payments provided by this statute are intended to ensure that residents throughout the state, including recipients of medical assistance and Medicare, have access to healthcare and that residents of rural areas of the state, in particular, experience improved access to healthcare services. 

Overview

SHARP-II provides loan repayment and direct incentive. Both full-time and half-time contract options are available. After an initial three years of service, those clinicians in good standing may gain the opportunity for another three-year contract through a competitive application process.

  • Tier-1: Physicians, Dentists and Pharmacists
  • Tier-2: Physician Assistants, Nurse Practitioners, RN-Level Nurse, Physical Therapists, Clinical Psychologists, Clinical Social Workers, and Dental Hygienists

SHARP-II has certain stipulations, a key one being that holding a concurrent service obligation with virtually any other entity is specifically disallowed (e.g., NHSC, I.H.S., and so on). Another key stipulation is that each participating Site must contribute a partial employer match to its clinician’s support-for-service payment, although reduction of this required match amount may be possible in some circumstances. Further, all participating Sites must be within Alaska-designated health care service shortage areas (HCSSAs). Sites must accept patients who receive Medicaid or Medicare, and the uninsured on a sliding fee basis. Under SHARP-II a significantly expanded range of facilities may become designated as eligible practice Sites.

Important Notice about Concurrent Service Obligations

Concurrent service obligations are not allowed in the SHARP Program. SHARP participants can only receive one support-for-service award. In some cases an employer will offer the clinician a signing bonus and/or moving expenses as a service obligation. Clinicians who receive these benefits can participate in the SHARP Program as long as the employer stipulates that these benefits don’t constitute a service obligation.

Looking for a health care job in Alaska?


Frequently we are asked by clinicians interested in working in Alaska about the best way to find a job, or if we can help them find a job. We emphasize that we are not a job referral agency. In general we do not know which health care agencies are recruiting for which positions. We do, however, want clinicians and employers to get acquainted with the goal of providing health care in under-served areas of the state.


We have reached out to Alaska health care facilities and asked them to provide contact information to enabled candidates to inquire about health care opportunities. Many facilities have responded generously with the names and email addresses of staff to contact about employment. The websites of these facilities are also provided. Job searchers should go to the websites to see specifically which jobs are available.


It continues to be our mission to build the Alaska health care workforce. As employers continue to send their contact information to us we will update this list of recruiting agencies. This list is not all inclusive and only contains the information that health care facilities have sent us. You should use this list as a way to develop a network of contacts and to become better acquainted with the health care system in Alaska.


As part of your search for health care opportunities in Alaska you should also register with 3RNet, the Rural Recruitment and Retention Network for employers and candidates.


Questions?

To request additional information about the SHARP Program, please email Robert Sewell. Email: robert.sewell@alaska.gov.

Or fill out the SHARP Inquiry Form

  • Robert Sewell, Ph.D., Program Director
    Alaska Division of Public Health
    Section of Health Planning & Systems Development
    P.O. Box 110610
    Juneau, AK 99811-0610
    Phone: (907) 465-4065

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