In full transparency, the following is a press release from the Baker-Polito administration submitted to SOURCE media. (Stock photo).
BOSTON – On November 17, the Baker-Polito Administration announced a significant step in addressing the health care workforce shortage by contracting with the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers to implement a $130 million loan repayment program to support and retain the behavioral health and primary care workforce. Funding comes from the American Rescue Plan Act and the Opioid Recovery and Remediation Trust Fund.
Applications will be open in December to qualifying employees including but not limited to social workers, primary care physicians, psychiatrists, nurses, substance use recovery coaches and case managers who work at Community Health Centers, Community Mental Health Centers, psychiatric units in acute care hospitals, in-patient psychiatric hospitals or substance use treatment programs. Loans eligible for repayment in this application process include government loans made by federal, state, county or city agencies and commercial loans from banks, credit unions, savings and loan associations, insurance companies, schools, and other financial or credit institutions.
“The pandemic has exacerbated workforce shortages across the health care and human services sector in both the public and private markets, placing significant stress on our health care providers, their staff and our Massachusetts residents seeking care,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders. “Through this program, we are providing tangible support to sustain them in this high demand work.”
“The debilitating employee shortages we are experiencing in healthcare have been decades in the making. Although primary and behavioral health care is associated with higher value and better outcomes for Massachusetts residents, our society has consistently undervalued these essential healthcare services. This loan repayment program is an effort to right that wrong by investing in personnel critical to the health of the Commonwealth,” said Michael Curry, President and CEO of the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers.
Loan repayment awards will range between $12,500 and $300,000 per individual depending on their occupation, job setting, academic degree level attained and whether the individual works part-time or full-time.
Applicants will be prioritized to receive an award if they meet one of the following criteria:
- Applicant can communicate with patients and provide care in a language other than English and that skill matches the needs of the location where the applicant works.
- Applicant has demonstrated a commitment to providing clinical care to historically medically underserved patients.
- Applicant works or resides in a community prioritized in the COVID-19 Vaccine Equity Initiative: Boston, Brockton, Chelsea, Everett, Fall River, Fitchburg, Framingham, Haverhill, Holyoke, Lawrence, Leominster, Lowell, Lynn, Malden, Methuen, New Bedford, Randolph, Revere, Springfield, and Worcester.
- Applicant works in a designated Community Behavioral Health Center.
Information about how to apply will be made available by the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers in December.