Student Loan Repayment Program Provides Incentive for Medical Providers To Offer Opioid Use Disorder Treatment

As part of its multifaceted plan to address the opioid epidemic, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) is offering student loan repayment to eligible medical providers if they begin providing or expand opioid addiction treatment programs through the Michigan Opioid Treatment Access Loan Repayment Program.

The goal of the repayment program is to increase availability of opioid use disorder treatment across the state, especially in areas where treatment is difficult to access. The program is being funded through the Michigan Opioid Healing and Recovery Fund, which is receiving payments from the nationwide settlement with the three largest pharmaceutical distributors, as well as opioid manufacturer, Johnson and Johnson.

“By supporting our workforce, we are able to expand life-saving services to those suffering from opioid and substance use disorders,” said Elizabeth Hertel, MDHHS director. “Repaying student loans for providers eases the financial burden of those working in this field and offers an incentive for those considering entering this high-demand caregiving workforce. We encourage all who are eligible to apply by March 13.”

The program is available to medical and osteopathic medicine doctors, psychiatrists, nurse practitioners, physician assistants and substance use disorder counselors who begin offering opioid treatment or expand treatment that is already being offered. Providers who work in a variety of health care settings are eligible to apply.

This is the third time MDHHS has accepted applications for the program. During the first two rounds, 64 providers had their student loans partially-repaid reaching a total of $1,158,678. Applications must be submitted by March 13. Applications and other resources can be found at Michigan.gov/miota. Health care providers are encouraged to review the materials and submit applications when the cycle begins.