Is the NHSC Substance Use Disorder (SUD) Program Right For Me?

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The National Health Service Corps (NHSC) Substance Use Disorder (SUD) Loan Repayment Program has been in place for just over a year now. The goal of the program is to increase patient access to SUD services. This article will review this initiative to help eligible healthcare clinicians decide if the program is right for them.

Understanding the HRSA Program to Fight SUD

Health and Human Services (HHS) issued their Five-Point Opioid Strategy with the goal of combating the opioid epidemic with increased access to effective treatment modalities. The organization issued more than $800 million in grants to support these efforts. One of their initiatives included Health Resources and Services Association (HRSA)’s NHSC SUD Workforce Loan Repayment Program which seeks to increase “patient access to high-quality substance use disorder prevention, treatment, and recovery services.” Eligible healthcare providers with student loans receive repayment assistance in exchange for their frontline service to provide care for SUDs in underserved communities. The program includes:

  • Up to $75,000 for three years of full-time service at an HRSA/NHSC-approved SUD location. Half-time clinicians can receive up to $37,500 in loan repayment.
  • Up to $50,000 in loan repayment for a full-time two-year commitment. Half-time clinicians can receive up to $25,000.

The NHSC built this program on more than 40-years of providing loan repayments and scholarships to help build a primary care clinical base to provide care to underserved populations. NHSC also has a loan repayment program for dental and behavioral health services.

Is the NHSC Loan Repayment Program Right for Me?

Determining which NHSC loan repayment program is right for you depends on a variety of factors, from your area of practice to your debt load. Finding the right organization, the right culture, and even the right community, are all things to consider. Basic requirements for these programs include:

  • U.S. citizenry.
  • Eligible to participate as a provider in Medicare, Medicaid, or the State Children’s Health Insurance Program.
  • Fully trained and credentialed in the NHSC-eligible primary care medical, dental, or behavioral/mental health discipline and state in which you’re applying to serve.
  • Student loan debt for an education that led to your credentialing.
  • Working at an NHSC-approved SUD treatment location with an approved HPSA score.

Picking the right program is crucial—and HRSA offers three loan repayment programs:

  • NHSC Loan Repayment Program
  • NHSC SUD Workforce Loan Repayment Program
  • NHSC Rural Community Loan Repayment Program.

Clinical providers are eligible for all three programs if they serve in one of these professional areas:

  • Certified Nurse Midwives
  • Health Service Psychologists
  • Licensed Clinical Social Workers
  • Licensed Professional Counselors
  • Marriage and Family Therapists
  • Nurse Practitioners
  • Physicians
  • Psychiatric Nurse Specialists
  • Physicians Assistants

Additionally, these programs cover Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists, Dentists, Dental Hygienists, Pharmacists, Registered Nurses, and SUD Counselors—to name a few. Each of these providers frequently accrues high student load debt during their educational tenure. The NHSC Loan Repayment Program offers a resolution to high student debt for new providers.

Clinicians considering the NHSC Loan Repayment Program should talk with the team at UHC Solutions. We can help you find the right fit.

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