Upon Award: Moving from Awardee to Participant
Upon offer of award, MLRP participants complete a packet of information to get the award process rolling. Necessary documentation includes legal agreement to the service obligation as well as further verification of educational loans. Documents which must be returned within defined deadlines:
1. Promissory Note
2. Service Obligation Agreement
3. Lender Verification Form with Lender W-9 and Direct Deposit Authorization, as Indicated (Submitted by lender on behalf of awardee)
4. Loan Disbursement Form
5. Certification Regarding Environmental Tobacco Smoke
6. Debarment Affirmations
7. Certification Regarding Lobbying
To receive an award, the Maryland Department of Health (MDH) must receive all documents by established deadlines. If all requested documentation is not received by the established deadline, awardees will no longer qualify for the program and must reapply to be considered for a future award.
Once the award is accepted by signing the Promissory Note and Service Obligation Agreement, awardees are considered to be “participants” and are legally obligated to complete the terms of the Program.
And, don’t worry, the MLRP Welcome Packet explains all of this information alongside a virtual program orientation meeting!
MDH utilizes the Loan Disbursement Form and Lender Verification Form to verify current educational loan debt for each participant. Two payments are made over the course of the service obligation, once at the start of the service obligation and once at the start of the second service obligation year.
Using the required documents, MDH requests payment of the annual award to the lending institutions noted via the Loan Disbursement Form.
The sooner that complete documentation is submitted, the sooner payment requests are made by MDH. It is important to note that MLRP can only pay up to the current educational loan debt of each participant. Therefore, actual payments may be lower than the award noted in approval letters if lender verification forms cannot demonstrate that an educational loan debt still exists at the amount of the full award.
Though MDH communicates with lending institutions via the check distribution process and a follow-up lender letter, participants may have to work with their lender to ensure that distributed funds are successfully connected to their loan account.
At a few key points along the MLRP participant pathway, you will be required to take part in a variety of data collection exercises. Your application to MLRP is the first one! As a program participant, you will also receive and be required to respond to surveys to collect experience and retention data (from our partner, 3RNet/PRISM), submit additional aggregate documentation regarding the patients you serve and key practice site health outcomes quality priorities, and provide verification about ongoing eligibility for the program. Please respond accurately and in a timely manner to these requests.
Meeting the Obligation
Throughout the MLRP service obligation, a program participant must continue to meet all Discipline, Participant, and Practice Site eligibility criteria met during the application process and as approved for award. A participant’s continued eligibility depends on meeting the same criteria as was represented and approved in the participant’s program application.
Continuing Participants (Second Year of the Service Obligation)
For MLRP participants with a 2-year service obligation, a renewal process serves as a check-in at the end of the first year/ start of the second year of obligation. This process verifies continued eligibility for the program and collects vital monitoring and evaluation data that allows the program to demonstrate its impact in Maryland.
You will receive a Renewal Packet for completion at the end of the first service obligation year with a deadline for completion. To stay in compliance with the obligation and trigger the second year payment, the Maryland Department of Health (MDH) must receive all documents by established deadlines. If all requested documentation is not received by the established deadline, awardees will be considered in breach of the service obligation.
Changes in Participant Status
All changes in participant status must be communicated to MDH in advance of the status change in order to gain MDH approval of the change and ensure continued eligibility for MLRP. Types of potential status changes are noted below.
Participants must work for at least 45 weeks per service obligation year. No more than seven weeks (35 work days) can be spent away from the practice for holidays, vacation, continuing professional education, illness, or any other reason. MDH must be notified of and approve any absences greater than seven weeks in any given 52-week period. Approved extended leave will extend the service obligation end date.
MLRP participants are approved to serve the duration of the service obligation at the practice site approved during the application cycle. If, after serving at the practice site for one year, a participant and their practice site determine that a separation is in order, MDH may consider reassignment of the participant to another eligible practice site. The new transfer site must be MLRP-eligible and be similar enough to the original site that the participant would receive the same or higher technical scoring upon application to the program. The participant must submit a transfer request to MDH for approval prior to separation from the approved practice site. Upon approval of a transfer request, the participant will need to ensure submission of follow-up documentation to MDH.
Cancellation, Waiver, and Deferment
For a participant who receives federal State Loan Repayment Program funds, MDH may consider
cancellation, waiver, or deferment of the Service Obligation in the following circumstances:
(1) Any service or payment obligation incurred by a participant is canceled upon the participant's death.
(2) MDH may waive or suspend (for up to 1 year) the participant's service or payment obligation if, in the opinion of MDH, compliance by the participant with the terms and conditions of the Service Obligation Agreement is impossible or would involve extreme hardship.
For a participant who does not receive federal State Loan Repayment Program funds, in addition to the above circumstances, MDH may also consider deferment of the Service Obligation Agreement in the following circumstances:
(1) Military service for a period not to exceed three years;
(2) Extended illness verified by a licensed healthcare provider;
(3) Extenuating family circumstances to be decided on a case-by-case basis; or
(4) Maternity/paternity leave not to exceed six months
All requests for cancellation, waiver, and deferment must be submitted in writing to MDH, prior to any changes being made to the status of the participant at the approved practice site.
Breach of Contract
It is important for every MLRP applicant and participant to read and understand the obligations related to participation in the program, including the breach of contract information. Failure to follow the MLRP service obligation will constitute a breach of agreement. The MLRP application and Service Obligation Agreement outline the Breach of Contract Guidelines, which are followed in the case of a breach. A Breach of Contract is very serious as it comes along with a set of financial penalties.
If participant fails to fulfill the Service Obligation, participant shall pay to the State, with interest:
(1) The full amount paid to, or on behalf of, the participant for the loan repayments for any period or obligated service not served;
(2) An amount equal to the number of months of obligated service not completed multiplied by $7,500; and
(3) Interest on the above amounts at the maximum legal prevailing rate, as determined by theTreasurer of the United States, from the date of breach.
(4) The total amount that MDH is entitled to recover shall not be less than $31,000. In addition to these penalties, the State of Maryland is entitled to recover costs, fees, and expenses for collection, including attorney's fees, as prescribed by State law or regulation.
Renewing an Award
An MLRP participant may reapply one additional time for award after completion of the first service obligation. A participant’s total award amount cannot exceed two service obligations (or their educational loan debt).