Military Personnel: Better Debt Management Procedures and Resolution of Stipend Recoupment Issues Are Needed for Improved Collection of Medical Education Debts

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Correspondence issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Military physicians and other health care professionals are needed to support operational forces during war or other military conflicts and to maintain the well-being of the forces during nonoperational periods. These professionals also provide health care services to military retirees and dependents. The Department of Defense (DOD) acquires its health care professionals primarily through two programs--the Armed Forces Health Professions Scholarship Program and the Financial Assistance Program--with which it recruits and trains military health care providers who fill medical specialty positions. These programs offer participants reimbursement for tuition, ... continued below

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United States. Government Accountability Office. April 1, 2008.

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Correspondence issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Military physicians and other health care professionals are needed to support operational forces during war or other military conflicts and to maintain the well-being of the forces during nonoperational periods. These professionals also provide health care services to military retirees and dependents. The Department of Defense (DOD) acquires its health care professionals primarily through two programs--the Armed Forces Health Professions Scholarship Program and the Financial Assistance Program--with which it recruits and trains military health care providers who fill medical specialty positions. These programs offer participants reimbursement for tuition, books, fees, other education expenses, and a stipend, which is a fixed amount of money given to the participants on a monthly basis, in return for an active duty service obligation. Recruiting and retaining highly qualified health care professionals, however, is becoming more challenging for each of the military services. The added stresses of repeated deployments and the general perceptions of war, along with the potential for health care providers to earn significantly more money outside of DOD, have caused some professionals to choose to separate themselves from military service, even after DOD has paid for all or part of their medical education. Because DOD medical training programs can take years and are a costly investment, DOD is negatively affected both financially and operationally when individuals do not fulfill their active duty obligations. The Conference Report accompanying the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008 directed the Comptroller General of the United States to report to the congressional defense committees by April 1, 2008, on the number of Health Professions Scholarship Program or Financial Assistance Program participants who do not enter active duty following completion of the program of studies for which they were enrolled, including the extent to which the military services have sought and received reimbursement for stipends or annual grants paid. Accordingly, we examined the extent to which (1) participants in the Health Professions Scholarship Program or Financial Assistance Program fail to enter active duty service, as obligated; (2) DOD has procedures in place to recoup expenditures paid under the Health Professions Scholarship Program or Financial Assistance Program to participants who failed to meet their contractual obligations; and, (3) DOD has specifically sought and received reimbursement for stipends."

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Government Accountability Office Reports

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for the U.S. Congress investigating how the federal government spends taxpayers' money. Its goal is to increase accountability and improve the performance of the federal government. The Government Accountability Office Reports Collection consists of over 13,000 documents on a variety of topics ranging from fiscal issues to international affairs.

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  • April 1, 2008

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  • June 12, 2014, 7:50 p.m.

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United States. Government Accountability Office. Military Personnel: Better Debt Management Procedures and Resolution of Stipend Recoupment Issues Are Needed for Improved Collection of Medical Education Debts, text, April 1, 2008; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc301607/: accessed December 18, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.