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Information for Practitioners

New SHARP Application Opportunity

  • The Department has made much progress in readying our new SHARP opportunity. Both Clinician & Site applications, as well as new significant program detail will be announced soon!
    Next Update: Wednesday Jan. 23rd

Who is eligible?

The program is open to health care professionals in three fields with provider shortages — primary care, dental services and behavioral health. Practitioners must be United States citizens or naturalized citizens.

The eligible positions are:

  • Primary care: physicians (medical doctors (MD) or doctors of osteopathy (DO) who are family practitioners, internists, pediatricians or obstetrician-gynecologists), nurse practitioners, physician assistants, Pharmacists and Nurses (RN).
  • Dental services: dentists, registered clinical dental hygienists.
  • Behavioral health: psychiatrists, clinical or counseling psychologists (CPs), clinical social workers (CSWs), psychiatric nurse specialists (PNSs), licensed professional counselors (LPCs), marriage and family therapists (MFTs). 

Selected primary care practitioners sign a two-year memorandum of agreement indicating their commitment to serve in an identified high-needs area and facility.

Practitioners must have no outstanding contractual obligations for health professional service to the Federal Government (e.g., an active military obligation, National Health Service Corps Loan Repayment Program, National Health Service Corps Scholarship Program, Nursing Education Loan Repayment Program or Nursing Scholarship Program obligation, Indian Health Service Loan Repayment), or to any other State or other entity (whether federal, non- federal, public or private, non-profit or for-profit)t..

For additional information about the terms that the practitioner must agree to and certify, please refer to:

Definition of Provision of Primary Care

Primary care is the delivery of professional, comprehensive health services that include health education and disease prevention, initial assessment of health problems, treatment of acute and chronic health problems, and the overall management of an individual’s or family’s health care services.  It entails first-contact care of persons with undifferentiated illnesses, comprehensive care that is not disease or organ specific, care that is longitudinal in nature and care that includes the coordination of other health services.  This definition includes medical, dental and/or behavioral healthcare services that have the features that are otherwise here-enumerated.

According to Section 330 of the U.S. Public Health Service Act, and the Alaska Primary Care Council (2007), and for purposes of this grant program, services included in primary care are:

  • Health services related to family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, obstetrics, or gynecology provided by physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, nurse midwives, and health aides.
  • Diagnostic laboratory and radiological services.
  • Preventive services including, but not limited to:
    • prenatal and postpartum services
    • screening for breast, cervical, prostate and other types of cancer
    • well-child services
    • immunizations
    • screenings for communicable diseases, environmental contaminants, and chronic health conditions
    • pediatric eye, ear, and dental screenings to determine the need for vision and hearing correction and dental care
    • voluntary family planning services, and preventive dental services (provided by dentist, dental hygienist, or dental therapist)
  • Emergency medical services
  • Pharmaceutical services
  • Referrals to providers of health related services including specialty, dental/oral health, substance abuse and mental health services
  • Patient case management services including counseling, referral, and follow-up services
  • Patient education regarding health conditions and the availability and use of health services.

For purposes of this grant program, "direct services" means the provision of primary care, and does not include potentially related activities such as research, teaching, supervision, program management and/or similar.  Additionally, the direct provision of dental care service and/or behavioral health service is deemed as eligible "direct primary care service", if that service is are delivered under the auspices of the applicant organization.  That is, those services are excluded from eligibility under this definition that are provided by other organizations to which the applicant-agency simply refers patients.

Which clinical occupations are eligible?

SHARP applicants must demonstrate satisfactory professional competence and conduct and meet discipline and specialty-specific education, training and licensure requirements, as described below.

Applicants who intend to practice under SHARP must have a current, full, permanent, unencumbered, unrestricted health professional license in Alaska. SHARP reserves the right to request documentary proof of completion of discipline-specific advance training (residency, certification, fellowships, etc.), licensure status, and any other requirements set forth below.

Applicants are welcome to submit their applications before they receive Alaska occupational licensure. However, no “service-credit” (toward collecting loan repayment benefit) can be earned until licensure is attained.

Where are the workplaces with jobs that qualify?

There are eligible employers all over Alaska — from remote, rugged parts of the state to Anchorage, Alaska’s urban center. To find the organizations that have been federally defined as “health professional shortage areas,” visit Health Resources and Service Administration's Shortage Area Finder. For more information, contact the Alaska Primary Care Office, (907) 465-3091.

In addition, see our list of agencies that have already been identified as program eligible: Sites seeking clinician

What is the time commitment required?

Participants sign a contract for a minimum two-year practice commitment. Jobs are full-time (40 hours per week) or half-time (20-39 hours per week), with no more than 35 days vacation per year. There are severe penalties for default on contracts.

For additional information about how the length of service requirement is defined, please refer to:

Half-time Clinical Practice

Clinician works a minimum of 20 hours per week, but not exceeding 39 hours per week, for a minimum of 45 weeks per service year. No less than 2 days per week, and no more than 12 hours work in a 24-hour period. A maximum of 7 weeks (35 half-time workdays) per service year is allowed away from the service site for vacation, holidays, continuing education, illness, or any other reason.

  • All Health Professionals, except as noted below:
    At least 16 hours/week are spent providing direct patient care in the outpatient ambulatory care setting(s) at the approved service site(s) during normally scheduled office hours. The remaining 4 hours/week are spent providing clinical services for patients or teaching at the approved site(s), providing clinical services in alternative settings (e.g., hospitals, nursing homes, shelters) as directed by the approved site(s), or performing practice-related administrative activities. Teaching and practice-related administrative activities shall not exceed a total of 4 hours/week.
  • OB/GYNs, Certified Nurse Midwives, Family Medicine Physicians who practice obstetrics on a regular basis, providers of geriatric services, and pediatric dentists:
    At least 11 hours/week are spent providing direct patient care in the outpatient ambulatory care setting(s) at the approved service site(s) during normally scheduled office hours. The remaining 9 hours/week are spent providing clinical services for patients or teaching at the approved site(s), providing clinical services in alternative settings (e.g., hospitals, nursing homes, shelters) as directed by the approved site(s), or performing practice-related administrative activities. Teaching and practice-related administrative activities shall not exceed a total of 4 hours/week.
  • Behavioral and mental health providers:
    At least 11 hours/week are spent providing direct patient care (direct patient counseling) in the outpatient ambulatory care setting(s) at the approved service site(s) during normally scheduled office hours. The remaining 9 hours/week are spent providing clinical services for patients or teaching at the approved site(s), providing clinical services in alternative settings as directed by the approved site(s), or performing practice-related administrative activities. Teaching and practice-related administrative activities shall not exceed a total of 4 hours/per week.

How much of my loans will the program cover?

The program provides up to $35,000 per year for Tier-1 clinicians, physicians, dentists, pharmacistsand up to $20,000 per year for other Sharp's eligible clinician occupations (i.e. Tier 2 ). For additional information, please refer to:

What are the terms of payment?

Loan repayment support, up to a maximum annual benefit, will be paid directly to the practitioner's eligible lender(s). The maximum annual benefit amounts are $35,000 for Tier-1 or $20,000 for Tier-2 professions. The payment cycle operates on a quarterly basis. Payments are issued following each quarterly period of documented service.

What are the circumstances under which the Memorandum of Agreement can be amended or terminated?

There are specific circumstances under which the MOA can be terminated or amended. For additional information, please refer to:

Is the SHARP loan repayment benefit exempt from personal income taxation?

We understand that Alaska’s SHARP loan repayment benefit is exempt from federal personal income tax.

In the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PL 111-148), Section 10908 directly addresses the question of federal taxability exemption of state loan repayment programs. Pre-ACA, the tax laws were nebulous, leaving the decision about federal taxability up to the state program administrator. However this section puts the state loan repayment programs on par with the federal/ state SLRP programs in terms of federal taxability. The text is as follows:

SEC. 10908. EXCLUSION FOR ASSISTANCE PROVIDED TO PARTICIPANTS IN STATE STUDENT LOAN REPAYMENT PROGRAMS FOR CERTAIN HEALTH PROFESSIONALS.

(a) IN GENERAL. — Paragraph (4) of section 108(f) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 is amended to read as follows: ‘‘(4) PAYMENTS UNDER NATIONAL HEALTH SERVICE CORPS LOAN REPAYMENT PROGRAM AND CERTAIN STATE LOAN REPAYMENT PROGRAMS.

In the case of an individual, gross income shall not include any amount received under section 338B(g) of the Public Health Service Act, under a State program described in section 338I of such Act, or under any other State loan repayment or loan forgiveness program that is intended to provide for the increased availability of health care services in underserved or health professional shortage areas (as determined by such State).’’

(b) EFFECTIVE DATE. — The amendment made by this section shall apply to amounts received by an individual in taxable years beginning after December 31, 2008.

How does one handle my loan repayment when filing federal taxes?

We leave it to you and your tax professional to decide how and if you are to report this funding repayment.

  • This is to the best of our knowledge. That said, the foregoing should not be construed as "tax advice.”
  • In all such tax matters, SHARP clinicians should consult their own tax expert(s), and to do their own due diligence.

What if I have already filed my income tax report (either for CY’11, or prior), and have INCLUDED my award amount as income?

Know that the IRS has ruled that you might be eligible for a tax refund as regards that amount o Pls review here-attached documents, and consult our own tax expert if needed

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