Air Force HPSP Q&A

I recently received these questions about AFHPSP in an email from a reader, and while each of these topics has been addressed before, it appears that there is still some confusion on a few of these points. So, without further ado, some reason questions and my answers:

Question: Can the Air Force put you into a residency program that you did not rank? For example, say I ranked EM, but did not match. If the AF did not fill all their family medicine spots, could they pull me into one of those programs? Or do I fall back to civilian match or take a year as a flight surgeon?

You cannot be forced into a specialty that you did not rank. If you do not match into your specialty of choice, you will be placed into a PGY-1 only program in internal medicine, general surgery, or transition year. You can then reapply to complete residency. If you are not selected for a subsequent PGY-2+, you will begin a flight surgery tour. You can go back to residency after flight surgery.

You can choose to rank a second-choice specialty if you would rather do a residency in a different specialty than do a PGY-1 only followed by flight surgery. You can read more about ranking two specialties in the military match here.

Question: If I do match into a military residency, do I reapply after my intern year to continue on that track? I noticed that they label PGY1 and the remainder of the residency separately with differing numbers of spots.

If you do match into a military or civilian residency, the Air Force can match you to a PGY-1 only (which means you will need to reapply to go all the way through), or you can match to a PGY-1+ (such as a PGY-1 to PGY-4 OB/GYN program), in which case you do not have to reapply to keep your job.

Examples:

  • You apply in general surgery. You match to a categorical residency (PGY-1 to PGY-5). You will not have to reapply to continue to your PGY-2.
  • You apply in general surgery. You do not match to a categorical residency (PGY-1 to PGY-5). You match to a PGY-1 only in general surgery. You apply to continue into a PGY-2 through PGY-5. You are selected, and complete the remainder of your general surgery residency.
  • You apply in general surgery. You do not match to a categorical residency (PGY-1 to PGY-5). You match to a PGY-1 only in general surgery. You apply to continue into a PGY-2 through PGY-5. You are not selected, and after completing your PGY-1, you are assigned to complete a flight surgery tour.
  • You want to do a residency in anesthesiology. During your fourth year of medical school, you apply to, and match to, both a PGY-1 in internal medicine and a PGY-2+ in anesthesiology to follow. You will complete your PGY-1, followed immediately by your PGY-2+ in anesthesia.

Question: Are you required to add an extra year of pay back time because your residency program is four years? I’ve heard number ranges between 3-5 years for the cut off to accrue more time.

You owe one year of active duty for each year of medical school scholarship (so if you do a 3-year HPSP scholarship, you owe 3 years). Residencies done on active duty or civilian deferred status are neutral (you aren’t paying anything back, but you also aren’t accruing any additional service obligation). A residency of 5 years or less will not add to your service commitment if you received 4 years of medical school funding (this little oddity is specified in the HPSP rules).

Examples:

  • You receive a 3-year HPSP scholarship. You then graduate and complete a 3-year internal medicine residency on active duty. You owe the Air Force: 3 years (one year of active duty for each year of medical school funding, residency is neutral)
  • You receive a 4-year HPSP scholarship. You then graduate and complete a 3-year internal medicine residency on active duty. You owe the Air Force: 4 years (one year of active duty for each year of medical school funding, residency is neutral)
  • You receive a 4-year HPSP scholarship. You then graduate and complete a 4-year OB/GYN residency on active duty. You owe the Air Force: 4 years (one year of active duty for each year of medical school funding, residency is neutral)
  • You receive a 4-year HPSP scholarship. You then graduate and complete a 5-year general surgery residency on active duty. You owe the Air Force: 4 years (one year of active duty for each year of medical school funding, residency of up to 5 years is does not add to a 4-year active duty service commitment)

 

 

What other questions do you have?

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