What does your student loans have to do with your ability to practice medicine in your given field?

By all rights, absolutely nothing. However, the laws in numerous states tie medical workers’ student loans to their license to practice. Unpaid loans can result in a suspended license.

In Florida, the Board of Health recently reported that around 900 medical workers were likely to lose their licenses to practice because they had defaulted on student loans. In the end, most were able to work out some sort of agreement regarding their federal loans that would allow them to continue practicing. Unfortunately, that left about 100 still unable to repay — and their licenses have been suspended.

Florida may not be the only state to take such measures. Another 12 states — including California — have the legal ability to do the same. So far, they haven’t made any moves to do so, but that doesn’t mean it won’t happen. The action in Florida has affected the professional certifications of opticians, certified nursing assistants, pharmacists and registered nurses.

Suspending someone’s license to work in their chosen field because they can’t repay a debt seems counterproductive, to say the least. In addition, it puts a tremendous strain on patients — many of whom may see their medical care interrupted. It also put a bigger strain on the economy and government. People who are out of work often fall back on government-funded sources of income, like welfare, to obtain the necessities. Just the same, this method of dealing with the student loan crisis hasn’t yet gone away.

If you have student loans hanging over your head, don’t let them put your professional license in danger. Talk to your lender about a payment plan or forbearance today. If your professional license is threatened for another reason, make sure that you get seasoned legal advice about your case.