We’ve heard plenty about Iowa’s worsening shortage of nurses and teachers. Now an insurance company is trying to lure more new dentists to rural Iowa with a program that promises cash to pay off their student loans.Mickey McDaniel, spokeswoman for the Delta Dental Plan of Iowa says it offers 50-thousand dollars over three years to be used for college loan repayment for dentists who agree to practice in underserved areas of Iowa. This is the first year for the program. The first recipient will be named in May. McDaniel says a recent study from the Iowa Department of Public Health found a vast area of Iowa has few or no dentists.There are 77 areas within 72 of Iowa’s 99 counties that are in need of dentists. That number will only get worse with the number of dentists who will retire or move out of state. McDaniel says Delta Dental Plan of Iowa is the largest provider of dental insurance benefits in Iowa.The study found there are 14-hundred-30 dentists practicing in Iowa but 970 of them are in only 27 counties. That leaves 458 dentists for the remaining 72 counties. Every year, about 72 dentists graduate from the University of Iowa and many are nearly 100-thousand dollars in debt. For information, call (515) 963-4101 or send email to “[email protected]”.
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