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Loan Repayment Plan for Substance Use Clinicians

New NRSA programs aim to attract clinicians to fill gaps in substance use care and combat the opioid epidemic.


 

The opioid emergency claims > 130 lives every day, says Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Administrator George Sigounas, MS, PhD. By strengthening the health workforce, HRSA hopes to ensure that there are enough clinicians to cope with the growing epidemic.

That is why, in December 2018, HRSA launched a program that Sigounas says is “critical to HHS’ response to the opioid crisis.” The new National Health Service Corps (NHSC) Substance Use Disorder (SUD) Workforce Loan Repayment Program (LRP) will provide eligible health care clinicians with student loan repayment assistance in exchange for service in underserved communities.

A clinician may be awarded up to $75,000 for 3 years of full-time service at an NHSC-approved SUD site and $37,500 for part-time. Eligible providers use evidence-based treatment models to treat SUDs and must be trained and licensed to provide SUD treatment at NHSC-approved facilities. Qualification criteria are available at https://nhsc.hrsa.gov/loan-repayment/nhsc-sud-workforce-loan-repayment-program.html.

Clinicians also can apply to the NHSC Loan Repayment Program for primary care, dental, and behavioral health professionals. If accepted, they may receive up to $50,000 for 2 years of full-time service, $25,000 for part-time.

Military reservists also are eligible to participate in either the NHSC LRP or the NHSC Students to Service Loan Repayment Program. (Military training or service will not satisfy the NHSC service commitment.) More information is available at https://nhsc.hrsa.gov/loan-repayment/military-reservists.html.

Clinicians can only apply for 1 program. Sigounas says, “I am grateful to the clinicians who will apply and are looking to make a positive impact on patients, caregivers, and hard-hit communities throughout the country.”

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