For nearly 50 years, the Health Resources and Services Administration’s National Health Service Corps (NHSC) has awarded scholarships and loan repayment to health care professionals dedicated to working in areas with limited access to care. NHSC is now building upon this tradition—providing quality care to those who need it most—with a new program to address the opioid epidemic.
The NHSC Substance Use Disorder (SUD) Workforce Loan Repayment Program (LRP) offers student loan repayment awards of up to $75,000 to qualified clinicians in exchange for three years of service at an NHSC approved site providing SUD services. These sites are located in Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSA) around the country in rural, urban, and frontier communities.
NHSC-approved sites are generally outpatient facilities providing primary medical, dental, and/or mental and behavioral health services. These facilities may be federally qualified health centers, rural health clinics, state or federal correctional facilities, or free clinics. The full list of site types is available on the program’s web page (www.nhsc.hrsa.gov).
Applicants from an NHSC-approved SUD treatment facility may receive priority for the NHSC SUD Workforce LRP if they have a DATA 2000 waiver to administer medication-assisted treatment (MAT); serve in an opioid treatment program; or are certified in substance use disorder interventions, such as master’s-level substance use disorder counselors.
HRSA is opening this loan repayment opportunity to a broader pool of eligible disciplines and specialties, including physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants who are eligible to administer MAT, behavioral health professionals, substance use disorder counselors, registered nurses, and pharmacists.
Clinicians accepted to the program will ensure patients living with the disease of addiction have access to quality healthcare. Without these clinicians, some patients would not have the resources they need to recover.
Even within the current field strength, NHSC is helping to address mental and behavioral health needs in the nation’s underserved communities. More than one-third of current NHSC clinicians are mental and behavioral health providers, helping combat the opioid crisis our nation is currently facing as well as working to address serious mental health issues more broadly. Moreover, one in three NHSC clinicians serve in rural communities.
The NHSC builds healthy communities by providing financial awards to healthcare professionals committed to serving in the nation’s high-need, rural, and tribal areas. NHSC has provided scholarships and loan repayment for more than 50,000 recipients, helping communities recruit and retain quality primary care clinicians committed to providing care where they are needed most.
Eligible clinicians passionate about helping patients recover from addiction are encouraged to apply to the NHSC Substance Use Disorder Workforce Loan Repayment Program. HRSA is accepting applications through Thursday, February 21, 7:30 pm ET.
For the latest information and to sign up for email updates visit www.nhsc.hrsa.gov.