Government grants help restore New Orleans' healthcare workforce

December 1, 2007

The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals is awarding physicians and other needed health care providers who meet certain criteria and agree to work in Greater New Orleans for three years or more grants of up to $110,000 each. The program, however, has yet to secure a dermatologist.

Key Points

The program has yet to secure a dermatologist, however.

The $50 million Greater New Orleans Health Service Corps, funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is a response to Hurricane Katrina's devastating effects on the local healthcare community.

"The trickle-down for us as dermatologists is that we have (fewer general practitioners), internists and pediatricians referring to us. Many of my referring doctors have left the area," she tells Dermatology Times.

Program details

The program has two goals: Retention and recruitment of healthcare providers in the greater New Orleans area, says Dorie Tschudy, recruitment and retention services manager, Bureau of Primary Care and Rural Health, Baton Rouge, La.

Recruitment grant funding for displaced health professionals for all eligible practitioner types - including dermatologists - is still available.

Although one displaced Louisiana dermatologist - who asked that her name not be revealed - was approved for a grant, she was undecided about whether to accept it at press time. Ms. Tschudy says no other dermatologists have received retention or recruitment funding from the program.

For a dermatologist to qualify, there must be a demonstrated dire need in the community. The dermatologist must accept Medicaid and Medicare and have an acceptable policy for treating the medically underserved.

Physicians approved for the program can choose among incentive package options, including up to $40,000 for a sign-on bonus or medical liability insurance premium payments, up to $110,000 in educational loan repayments or income guarantees, up to $20,000 for relocation expenses, and up to $10,000 for health information technology training.

In return, doctors must agree to work three years in one of the four greater New Orleans parishes.