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Mass healthcare workers can now apply for loan repayment up to $300K

Massachusetts primary care and behavioral health professionals can now apply for loan repayment grants ranging from $12,500 to $300,000.

Applications for the $130 million initiative will remain open until Jan. 30, 2023, the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers announced Tuesday as it administers the MA reimbursement program. The application portal is available online here.

The state’s Executive Office of Health and Human Services unveiled the “historic” recruitment and retention strategy last month to address acute workforce challenges plaguing the sector.

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Officials say up to 2,000 loan repayment awards will be given out to eligible health care workers who commit to staying at their current job or another eligible institution for four to five years. The grants may cover government loans made by federal, state, county or city agencies, as well as commercial loans from banks, credit unions, savings and loan associations, insurance companies, schools and other financial or credit institutions.

“Workforce shortages are a critical problem nationally and locally across the health care system, placing significant stress on our health care professionals and providers, and our residents seeking care,” Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders said in a statement Tuesday. . “This loan repayment program is a tangible way to demonstrate that we appreciate those who do this important work.”

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Individuals eligible for the awards include social workers, primary care physicians, psychiatrists, nurses, substance abuse recovery coaches and case managers. They must work at community health centers, community mental health centers, psychiatric units in acute care hospitals, inpatient psychiatric hospitals or substance abuse treatment programs, according to the program’s parameters.

Officials said applicants will be prioritized if they speak a second language, have worked with under-resourced patients, live or work in communities that are part of the COVID-19 Vaccine Equity Initiative, or work at a designated community or ‘ have a job offer. behavioral health center.

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“By prioritizing communities hardest hit by the pandemic and supporting these essential workers, legislative leaders and the administration are investing in primary and behavioral health care that is associated with higher value and better outcomes for Massachusetts residents,” Michael Curry, president and chief executive of the Massachusetts. League of Community Health Centers, said in a statement.

The loans are funded by federal COVID relief dollars and the Opioid Recovery and Remediation Trust Fund. Lydia Conley, president and CEO of the Association for Behavioral Health Care, praised state lawmakers for approving the “significant” funding mechanism.

“This is the kind of bold response that is necessary given the magnitude of our workforce loss,” Conley said in a statement.

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