The Louisiana Department of Health is reminding current and potential participants of the Greater New Orleans Health Service Corps program that doctors and providers are not required to dedicate 30 percent of their practice to treating Medicaid, Medicare and uninsured patients.

Instead, health care providers must simply accept Medicare and Medicaid patients and accept payment on a sliding fee scale for uninsured patients based on their income. There is no 30 percent requirement. The Health Service Corps program provides incentives up to $110,000 to health care providers who agree to provide health care services in Orleans, Jefferson, Plaquemines and St. Bernard parishes for three years.

Dr. Fred Cerise, secretary of the Department of Health and Hospitals, said it is important to clear up this misconception about the requirements in order not to deter enrollment.

“This was a misconception that was circulating among medical professionals,” he said. “It is important that doctors and other health care professionals understand the requirements of the grant, and not get wrong information that might keep them from applying.”

According to the program policy, priority will be given to individuals who accept and treat a high rate of Medicaid and uninsured patients and who agree to continue treating this percentage for the duration of their three-year service commitment.

The Greater New Orleans Health Service Corps aims to recruit physicians, dentists, psychiatrists, registered nurses, clinical faculty and allied health professionals.  Primary care physicians, dentists and psychiatrists are eligible for up to $110,000 from the incentive program. Mid-level primary care, mental health and dental health care providers are eligible for up to $55,000. Licensed pharmacists may receive up to $50,000. Registered nurses are eligible for up to $40,000, and allied health professionals are eligible for $10,000 to $40,000.

Incentive packages may include up to $110,000 in loan repayment or income guarantees, up to $40,000 for malpractice premium payments or sign-on bonuses, up to $20,000 for relocation expenses and up to $10,000 for health information technology continuing education expenses.

LDH will continue to accept applications until all program funds are allocated. Applications received by the last Friday of each month will be reviewed for eligibility, and awards will be announced within 30 days of the review.

To download the Greater New Orleans Health Service Corps program policy and application, visit  Contact Gayla Strahan toll-free at 877-345-0579 for additional information.

Funding for the incentives is provided through two federal grants totaling $50 million by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The grants were announced in January and May of this year. Information on these grants can be found at: