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OFFSET OF PAYMENTS TO INDIVIDUALS TO COLLECT PAST-DUE OBLIGATIONS ARISING FROM BREACH OF SCHOLARSHIP AND LOAN CONTRACT[428]

Sec1892[42 U.S.C. 1395ccc] (a) In General.—

(1)(A) Subject to subparagraph (B), the Secretary shall enter into an agreement under this section with any individual who, by reason of a breach of a contract entered into by such individual pursuant to the National Health Service Corps Scholarship Program, the Physician Shortage Area Scholarship Program, or the Health Education Assistance Loan Program, owes a past-due obligation to the United States (as defined in subsection (b)).

(B) The Secretary shall not enter into an agreement with an individual under this section to the extent—

(i)(I) the individual has entered into a contract with the Secretary pursuant to section 204(a)(1) of the Public Health Service Amendments of 1987[429], and

(II) the individual has fulfilled or (as determined by the Secretary) is fulfilling the terms of such contract; or

(ii) the liability of the individual under such section 204(a)(1) has otherwise been relieved under such section; or

(iii) the individual is performing such physician’s service obligation under a forbearance agreement entered into with the Secretary under subpart II of part D of title III of the Public Health Service Act[430].

(2) The agreement under this section shall provide that—

(A) deductions shall be made from the amounts otherwise payable to the individual under this title, in accordance with a formula and schedule agreed to by the Secretary and the individual, until such past-due obligation (and accrued interest) have been repaid;

(B) payment under this title for services provided by such individual shall be made only on an assignment-related basis;

(C) if the individual does not provide services, for which payment would otherwise be made under this title, of a sufficient quantity to maintain the offset collection according to the agreed upon formula and schedule—

(i) the Secretary shall immediately inform the Attorney General, and the Attorney General shall immediately commence an action to recover the full amount of the past-due obligation, and

(ii) subject to paragraph (4), the Secretary shall immediately exclude the individual from the program under this title, until such time as the entire past-due obligation has been repaid.

(3) If the individual refuses to enter into an agreement or breaches any provision of the agreement—

(A) the Secretary shall immediately inform the Attorney General, and the Attorney General shall immediately commence an action to recover the full amount of the past-due obligation, and

(B) subject to paragraph (4), the Secretary shall immediately exclude the individual from the program under this title, until such time as the entire past-due obligation has been repaid.

(4) The Secretary shall not exclude an individual pursuant to paragraph (2)(C)(ii) or paragraph (3)(B) if such individual is a sole community practitioner or sole source of essential specialized services in a community if a State requests that the individual not be excluded.

(b) Past-Due Obligation.—For purposes of this section, a past-due obligation is any amount—

(1) owed by an individual to the United States by reason of a breach of a scholarship contract under section 338E of the Public Health Service Act[431] or under subpart III of part F of title VII of such Act (as in effect before October 1, 1976) and which has not been paid by the deadline established by the Secretary pursuant to such respective section, and has not been canceled, waived, or suspended by the Secretary pursuant to such section; or

(2) owed by an individual to the United States by reason of a loan covered by Federal loan insurance under subpart I of part C of title VII of the Public Health Service Act and payment for which has not been cancelled, waived, or suspended by the Secretary under such subpart.

(c) Collection Under This Section Shall Not Be Exclusive.—This section shall not preclude the United States from applying other provisions of law otherwise applicable to the collection of obligations owed to the United States, including (but not limited to) the use of tax refund offsets pursuant to section 3720A of title 31, United States Code, and the application of other procedures provided under chapter 37 of title 31, United States Code[432].

(d) Collection From Providers and Health Maintenance Organizations.—

(1) In the case of an individual who owes a past-due obligation, and who is an employee of, or affiliated by a medical services agreement with, a provider having an agreement under section 1866 or a health maintenance organization or competitive medical plan having a contract under section 1833 or section 1876, the Secretary shall deduct the amounts of such past-due obligation from amounts otherwise payable under this title to such provider, organization, or plan.

(2) Deductions shall be in accordance with a formula and schedule agreed to by the Secretary, the individual and the provider, organization, or plan. The deductions shall be made from the amounts otherwise payable to the individual under this title as long as the individual continues to be employed or affiliated by a medical services agreement.

(3) Such deduction shall not be made until 6 months after the Secretary notifies the provider, organization, or plan of the amount to be deducted and the particular physicians to whom the deductions are attributable.

(4) A deduction made under this subsection shall relieve the individual of the obligation (to the extent of the amount collected) to the United States, but the provider, organization, or plan shall have a right of action to collect from such individual the amount deducted pursuant to this subsection (including accumulated interest).

(5) No deduction shall be made under this subsection if, within the 6-month period after notice is given to the provider, organization, or plan, the individual pays the past-due obligation, or ceases to be employed by the provider, organization, or plan.

(6) The Secretary shall also apply the provisions of this subsection in the case of an individual who is a member of a group practice, if such group practice submits bills under this program as a group, rather than by individual physicians.

(e) Transfer From Trust Funds.—Amounts equal to the amounts deducted pursuant to this section shall be transferred from the Trust Fund from which the payment to the individual, provider, or other entity would otherwise have been made, to the general fund in the Treasury, and shall be credited as payment of the past-due obligation of the individual from whom (or with respect to whom) the deduction was made.


[428]  See Vol. II, P.L. 94-437, §108(l)(1) and (2), with respect to the Indian Health Service loan repayment program.

[429]  See Vol. II, P.L. 100-177, §204(a)(1).

[430]  P.L. 78-410.

[431]  See Vol. II, P.L. 78-410, §338E.

[432]  See Vol. II, 31 U.S.C. 3720A.