Gillespie files legislation to provide student loan grants for mental health professionals

Tennessee Rep. John Gillespie (R-Memphis)
Tennessee Rep. John Gillespie (R-Memphis)(Action News 5)
Published: Aug. 15, 2023 at 5:13 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Tennessee Representative John Gillespie (R-Memphis) has filed legislation to incentivize medical professionals to remain in Tennessee and provide valuable mental health services after completing their training.

House Bill 7009 would establish a grant program, administered by the Tennessee Department of Health, to assist qualifying physicians, psychologists and professional counselors with repayment of their eligible student loan debt.

“It is important that Tennessee is able to attract and retain talented health care professionals,” Gillespie said. “This legislation will offer a meaningful incentive for these individuals to remain in our state and provide much-needed mental health services to residents. Improving the safety and well-being of all Tennesseans is our main priority.”

Grant recipients would be required to provide mental health services in the state for at least six years. They must also accept TennCare or private insurance for the services provided during that time.

Governor Bill Lee issued an official proclamation last week calling for a special session of the state legislature to consider several proposals dealing with public safety and mental health.

The 66th Extraordinary Special Session of the Tennessee General Assembly is scheduled to convene August 21 at 4 p.m.

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