BOSTON, December 6, 2022 - The Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers, under contract with the Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS), announced that applications are now open for MA Repay.
The student loan repayment program is a historic step to support the Massachusetts' behavioral health and primary care workforce and promote public health in communities hardest hit by the pandemic.
Applications by qualifying employees can now be submitted to the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers via the program website, ma-repay.massleague.org, through January 30, 2023.
"Workforce shortages are a critical problem nationally and locally across the health care system, placing significant stress on our health care staff and providers, and our residents seeking care," said Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders. "This loan repayment program is a tangible way to demonstrate that we value those doing this important work."
The MA Repay Program responds to the severe and growing shortage of health and human service providers in Massachusetts. With funding from the American Rescue Plan and the Opioid Recovery and Remediation Trust Fund allocated by the legislature, the program offers between $12.5K and $300K of educational loan repayment to eligible healthcare professionals in exchange for a 4-to-5-year commitment to their current or another eligible institution. The program could result in up to 2,000 awards and will be the first to extend loan repayment to employees in broader, non-clinical roles in behavioral health and primary care.
The MA Repay program website application helps potential participants determine their eligibility by asking individuals to:
- Choose from three occupational fields: Behavioral Health and Primary Care; Child and Adolescent Psychiatry; and Substance Use Treatment
- Select the institution for which they work
- Select their occupation
- Share if they meet a minimum number of hours worked
- Agree to commit to work for at least 4-to-5-years at their current or another eligible institution
Qualifying employees include but are 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.
Priority consideration will be given to applicants who speak a second language, have experience working with under-resourced patients, live or work in a community prioritized in the state’s COVID-19 Vaccine Equity Initiative, or who work or have a job offer in a designated Community Behavioral Health Center.
"By prioritizing communities hardest hit by the pandemic and supporting these essential workers, the administration and our legislative leaders are investing in primary and behavioral healthcare that is associated with higher value and better outcomes for Massachusetts residents," said Michael Curry, President and CEO of Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers.
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.
"We are grateful to the administration and legislature for acting swiftly to address this workforce crisis and appropriate such significant funds," said Lydia Conley, President and CEO of the Association for Behavioral Healthcare. "This is the kind of bold response necessary given the magnitude of our workforce loss."
Learn more about the program and more details about the qualifications needed for an applicant to be prioritized for receiving an award: ma-repay.massleague.org.