State invests $130 million in loan repayment program to encourage social workers, primary care physicians, psychiatrists, nurses, addiction recovery coaches and case managers to stay in the labor market work.
One of the state’s priorities is to help those who work or reside in Haverhill, Methuen or Lawrence, which have been designated as COVID-19 Vaccine Equity Initiative communities. The Executive Office of Health and Human Services has contracted with the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers to initiate a loan repayment program to support and retain behavioral health and primary care workers. The money comes from the American Rescue Plan Act and the Opioid Recovery and Remediation Trust Fund.
“The pandemic has exacerbated labor shortages in the health care and social services sector in both public and private markets, which is placing significant pressure on our health care providers, their staff and our residents. of Massachusetts seeking care,” said Marylou Sudders, Secretary of Health and Human Services. . “Through this program, we are providing them with concrete support to support them in this high-demand work.”
Applications will be accepted in December by the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers for qualified employees who work in community health centers, community mental health centers, psychiatric units in acute care hospitals, inpatient psychiatric hospitals or drug treatment programs. Loans eligible for reimbursement include government loans from federal, state, county, or municipal agencies and commercial loans from banks, credit unions, savings and loan associations, insurance companies, schools and other institutions.
“The debilitating employee shortages we are experiencing in healthcare have been brewing for decades. Although primary and behavioral health care is associated with greater value and better outcomes for Massachusetts residents, our society has consistently undervalued these essential health services. This loan repayment program is an effort to right that wrong by investing in essential health workers across the Commonwealth,” said Michael Curry, president and CEO of the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers.
Loan repayments vary between $12,500 and $300,000 per person depending on their profession, work environment, university degree and whether the person works part-time or full-time.