A former medical student at Creighton University, Omaha, Neb., must pay more than $410,000 for failing to follow through with his responsibilities as a participant in the National Health Service Corps Scholarship Program, which paid his tuition in exchange for a promise to practice medicine in an underserved area upon graduation.
The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Thursday in the case of Quentin Tanko, who signed up for the program when entering medical school at Creighton in 1999. Tanko accepted nearly $89,000 in scholarship funds during his first two years in medical school before quitting the program. After graduation in 2003, he entered an orthopedic surgery residency training program in Fort Wayne, Ind.
The government filed an action to collect three times what Tanko had borrowed, which is allowed in the law that created the scholarship program. The 8th Circuit upheld an earlier ruling by U.S. District Judge Richard Kopf of Lincoln that said Tanko owed more than $410,000 -- $266,000 for the scholarship and damages and $144,000 for interest.
Tanko did not immediately return a message left at the Indiana medical clinic where he works. His lawyer, John Passarelli, did not immediately return messages left at his office in Indiana.