COVID-19 Impact on Your Service Obligation
As the Coronavirus pandemic continues to unfold, we are actively working to address issues that affect our Indian Health Service (IHS) Loan Repayment Program (LRP) recipients. Our goal is to offer flexibility in our program requirements so participants can focus on facing this public health emergency while remaining in compliance with their service obligations.
If your ability to work is directly affected by COVID-19, contact your IHS LRP representative with questions on how to remain compliant with your service obligation requirements: Loan Repayment Representative.
The IHS LRP is providing the following program flexibilities to support program participants directly impacted by COVID-19. You are responsible for ensuring your site accurately completes the Employment and Leave form to ensure accountability for program compliance and reporting days away.
Below are examples of scenarios that IHS LRP participants might face:
Current IHS LRP recipients:
If a recipient becomes sick, is self-quarantined, or is caring for an affected family member, status is affected by reduced hours, laid-off or furloughed due to a permanent or temporary site closure:
- Participants who exceed or anticipate exceeding their allotted 7 weeks (35 workdays) of leave may request a suspension of their service obligation (up to six months at a time). This will allow participants to remain compliant, while extending their obligation end date by a timeframe equal to the approved suspension period.
If a clinician’s employment status is affected (working offsite, changed to telehealth/telemedicine).
LRP recipients may request approval to provide clinical service via telehealth/telemedicine to accommodate infection control, social distancing, or other appropriate measure to assist in meeting recommended outbreak reduction/control measures. If approved, IHS LRP providers may provide patient care in an approved alternative setting (throughout the duration of the national emergency declaration).
Please note: While flexibilities are appropriate given the current emergency, completion of the service obligation remains required. Waivers may be granted only if you demonstrate that compliance with your commitment is permanently impossible or that it would involve an extreme hardship such that enforcement of the commitment would be unconscionable.
A waiver application will be emailed to you upon your written request. Waivers are rarely granted, and there availability is not triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic. It will require documentation of extremely compelling circumstances.
If you default on your service obligation and you have established payment plans, but are unable to make monthly payments due to COVID-19 related issues, you should contact the Debt Collection Center to discuss options for a suspension of payments.
Requests must be submitted in writing to PscDebtServicing@psc.hhs.gov and include the following information: home and/or work address; phone numbers; and, why you are requesting a suspension.
- Payments are not suspended until the request is approved by PSC in writing.
- The written response from PSC will clearly state that payments are suspended for a term of no longer than 90 days; and, debtors will have to request again if an additional suspension is needed.
- Debtors will be informed that interest will continue to accrue on their debt so they should try to pay the monthly interest accrual if possible.
No request for a suspense of payment will be approved over the telephone or from any email account other than PscDebtServicing@psc.hhs.gov.
21 April 2020