Friday, January 30, 2015
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Deadbeats undermine the best of intentions

By
From page A10 | February 22, 2013 |

The issue: Government has few tools to get its money back from delinquent doctors

Like many federal programs, the Health Education Assistance Loan program began with the best of intentions.

HEAL would be a lender of last resort to keep aspiring medical professionals in school who had exhausted private sources of loans. It was not charity. Interest on the loans began accruing immediately and the government expected to be repaid in full.

FROM 1978 TO 1998, it largely worked. During that time, HEAL lent $4 billion to about 157,000 graduate students aspiring to become doctors, dentists, optometrists and chiropractors. Of those, 95 percent are current on their payments or have repaid the loans.

But 930 medical professionals remain in default, owing the government more than $116 million. Many of these deadbeats haven’t paid a dime on their loans in more than 18 years.

This is not a case in which a careless or inefficient government agency has allowed the non-payers to slip through the cracks. The Health Resources and Services Administration is spending $2.8 million to monitor a program that ended 14 years ago.

The HRSA tracks not only the 30,000 professionals repaying more than $730 million on time but also those deadbeats who refuse to pay or insist they are unable to. It has limited tools to collect the overdue debts: It can seek a court judgment, it can ban the professional from billing Medicare and Medicaid, it can convince the state to suspend the defaulter’s professional license and it can put the defaulter on a shaming list.

BUT PUBLICIZING deadbeats is subject to the law of diminishing returns. Initially, the agency collected millions by making the names public, but today 30 percent of those on the default list were on the list in 1995. A 2010 report by the Department of Health and Human Services’ inspector general reported that nearly half of the 1,100 deadbeat doctors had no apparent income; of the 486 defaulters who made any money, only 98 made more than $50,000.

HEAL illustrates a truism about federal loan programs: Before handing out any money, establish an effective mechanism for getting it back.

Comments

comments

.

News

Suspected Ebola patient being treated at UCD Med Center

By San Francisco Chronicle | From Page: A1

 
Town hall focuses on Coordinated Care Initiative

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1

Schools give parents tools to help kids thrive

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Need a new best friend?

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2 | Gallery

 
Stanford University to get $50 million to produce vaccines

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Two more cases of measles in Northern California in children

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Dartmouth bans hard liquor

By New York Times News Service | From Page: A2

 
Walkers head out three times weekly

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3Comments are off for this post

Free tax preparation service begins Monday

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

 
Vote for your favorites in Readers’ Choice poll

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

No bare bottoms, thanks to CommuniCare’s Diaper Drive

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Storyteller relies on nature as his subject on Saturday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Still time to purchase tickets for DHS Cabaret

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
All voices welcome at sing-along Wednesday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Great Chefs Program will feature Mulvaney

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

 
Take a photo tour of Cuba at Flyway Nights talk

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6 | Gallery

 
February science fun set at Explorit

By Lisa Justice | From Page: A6 | Gallery

See wigeons, curlews and meadowlarks at city wetlands

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8 | Gallery

 
.

Forum

Time for bed … with Grandma

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

 
Protect root zone to save trees

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

Weigh quality of life, density

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

 
Olive expert joins St. James event

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

We’re grateful for bingo proceeds

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

 
Tom Meyer cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A10

 
A ‘new deal’ for the WPA building

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10

.

Sports

Mustangs hold off UCD women

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
UCD men set new school D-I era win record

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

UCD has another tough football schedule in 2015

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

 
Gould’s influence felt mightily in recent Super Bowls

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

Sharks double up Ducks

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Sports briefs: Watney, Woods start slow at TPC Scottsdale

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2

Recall that first Aggie TV game, national title?

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B8 | Gallery

 
.

Features

.

Arts

‘Song of the Sea’ is an enchanting fable

By Derrick Bang | From Page: A11 | Gallery

 
‘Artist’s Connection’ launches on DCTV

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11

 
Gross’ paintings highlight a slice of Northern California

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A12 | Gallery

February show at YoloArts’ Gallery 625 is ‘Food for Thought’

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A12 | Gallery

 
.

Business

.

Obituaries

.

Comics

Comics: Friday, January 30, 2015

By Creator | From Page: A9