Amid Texas psychiatrist shortage, plan offers loan repayment



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AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The Texas House has preliminarily approved a proposal offering to help repay student loans for psychiatrists who provide care in underserved parts of the state.

Passed Thursday 89-52, the bill provides help repaying student loans for medical personnel who work in "designated mental health professional shortage areas."

Those qualifying would also have to treat Medicaid patients, low-income children or people confined to some state-run correctional facilities.

The Senate passed the bill last month. It now needs only a final House vote to be sent to Gov. Greg Abbott to be signed into law.

According to a recent state report, fewer than 2,000 licensed psychiatrists were offering direct care in Texas as of September 2013.

The same analysis named 199 of the state's 254 counties mental health professional shortage areas.

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The Associated Press

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