Anchorage, AK (STL.News) – Alaska Governor Michael J. Dunleavy Friday signed in Anchorage Senate Bill 25 and Senate Bill 93, both sponsored by Senator David Wilson. Senate Bill 25 extends the termination date of the Alaska Board of Dental Examiners to 2027, and Senate Bill 93 makes improvements to the Alaska Health Care Professions Loan Repayment and Incentive Program, commonly referred to as the SHARP Program. Similar legislation was sponsored in the Alaska State House by Representative Dan Ortiz and Representative Ivy Sponholz.
“The existing SHARP Program has already placed 250 medical practitioners across the State of Alaska, and the revenue-neutral improvements made to the program with Senate Bill 93 will help to draw even more medical professionals to Alaska,” said Governor Michael J. Dunleavy. “Every Alaskan benefits by having access to medical professionals in their communities, and I am hopeful that these changes will attract more qualified healthcare professionals to the Last Frontier in the near future.”
“Senate Bill 93 builds upon successes of the Alaska Health Care Professions Loan Repayment and Incentive Program commonly referred to as the SHARP Program. SHARP III is a budget-neutral initiative that addresses service shortages in our current healthcare landscape, leverages community-level investment across the state, and improves health outcomes of Alaskans,” said Senator David Wilson, sponsor of both SB 25 and SB 93. “SHARP III focuses on private-public partnerships, recruitment, and retention, by offering incentives to new and experienced professionals. To date, the program, which is administered by the Department of Health and Social Services, has supported more than 250 practitioners in nearly 60 sites across the state.”
“I am thrilled to have helped pass legislation creating SHARP III which, in this new iteration, focuses on expanding private-public partnerships to address recruitment and retention challenges for health care professionals in Alaska. Even better, it does this at no cost to the state of Alaska,” said Representative Ivy Spohnholz, the Alaska House of Representatives sponsor of SB 93.
The SHARP Program awards loan-debt repayment support to eligible medical professionals that serve in health care shortage areas across Alaska. The improvements made to the SHARP Program in SB 93 allow for private sponsorship from local governments, philanthropy, or employers to help fill the gap between federal and state funding that already exists. SB 93 received unanimous support from both bodies of the Alaska State Legislature.
Also signed today was Senate Bill 25, legislation to extend the termination date of the Board of Dental Examiners to June 30, 2027.