(BPT) - Due to a historic investment announced by Vice President Kamala Harris last month, the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) anticipates making an unprecedented number of loan repayment awards this year to medical, dental, and behavioral health professionals working in underserved communities across the country. In light of $800 million in supplemental funding included in the American Rescue Plan, more clinicians than ever before are competitive for up to $100,000 in loan repayment as part of the National Health Service Corps.
In its most recent year, the National Health Service Corps supported nearly 20,000 recipients, a record number of primary health, dental, and behavioral health care providers. The program will continue to build on this increase with its open application cycle for three of its loan repayment programs through February 3, 2022.
“National Health Service Corps loan repayment programs allow us to support clinicians who have committed to providing primary care services to the nation’s most vulnerable populations,” said Bureau of Health Workforce Associate Administrator Dr. Luis Padilla. “We were able to award every eligible applicant in our last application cycle, and we encourage every eligible clinician to apply before this cycle’s deadline.”
Currently, almost 21 million people receive care from National Health Service Corps clinicians serving urban, rural, and tribal areas. More than 66,000 primary care medical, dental, and mental and behavioral health professionals have participated in the program over the last 50 years. Participating clinicians help ensure access to healthcare for everyone regardless of their ability to pay, prevent disease and illness, and care for the nation’s most vulnerable populations while receiving significant assistance with their educational debt.
Eligible disciplines include physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, dentists, behavioral/mental health clinicians, and more. Qualified clinicians may receive up to $100,000 in educational loan repayment, depending on the award.
Providers may apply for one of three National Health Service Corps loan repayment programs:
1) National Health Service Corps Loan Repayment Program
This two-year commitment program supports clinicians with up to $50,000 to pay off their student loan debt in exchange for service at a National Health Service Corps-approved site.
2) National Health Service Corps Substance Use Disorder Workforce Loan Repayment Program
This three-year commitment supports the recruitment and retention of health professionals with up to $75,000. Providers must be working to combat the nation’s opioid crisis, expand access to evidence-based, medication-assisted treatment, and prevent overdose deaths in underserved areas. Applicants must work at a National Health Service Corps-approved SUD treatment facility.
3) National Health Service Corps Rural Community Loan Repayment Program
This three-year commitment addresses the often-disproportionate need for qualified Substance Use Disorder providers in rural communities and awards up to $100,000 in loan repayment funds. Applicants must work at a rural National Health Service Corps-approved Substance Use Disorder treatment facility.
NHSC-approved sites and treatment facilities must be located in a Health Professional Shortage Area.
To learn more and apply for a National Health Service Corps’ Loan Repayment Program, visit NHSC.HRSA.gov/choose-your-lrp. Like NHSC on Facebook, follow NHSC on LinkedIn and Twitter @NHSCorps, and sign up for HRSA email updates.