Nearly 1,000 health care workers have lost their license to practice in Florida because they can’t repay their student loans – a new crackdown potentially putting hundreds out of work, the I-Team found.
The move to suspend health care licenses comes after federal student loan companies spent years lobbying states to adopt laws to punish those who default on student loans by taking away their professional licenses.
But an ABC Action News review found Florida is the only state enforcing those laws.
Investigative Reporter Adam Walser uncovered the state’s Board of Health suspended more than 900 health care licenses – including professional certifications for registered nurses, Certified Nursing Assistants, pharmacists and opticians – in the just the past two years alone.
The I-Team found 12 other states (Alaska, Arkansas, California, Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Tennessee and Texas) still have the power to take away health care licenses for unpaid student loans, but officials in those states told ABC Action News they have not suspended any licenses over loan defaults in the past two years.
And four states – Montana, Oklahoma, New Jersey and North Dakota – have already repealed laws allowing health care license suspensions for unpaid student loans.