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NHSC Substance Use Disorder Workforce Loan Repayment Program

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To combat the nation’s opioid crisis, HRSA launched the NHSC Substance Use Disorder Workforce Loan Repayment Program (SUD Workforce LRP).

The most effective treatment for opioid addiction is a comprehensive approach that incorporates medication and behavioral health counseling.

The program supports the recruitment and retention of health professionals needed in underserved areas to expand access to SUD treatment and prevent overdose deaths.

Important Dates | Determine Your Eligibility | Disciplines | Sites | How to Apply

Benefits of the NHSC SUD Workforce LRP

Eligible clinicians may receive up to $75,000 in student loan repayment in exchange for a three-year commitment to provide substance use disorder treatment services at NHSC-approved sites.

  • Service

    You have an opportunity to increase access to primary care services to communities in need.

  • Flexible Service Options

    You have a choice between three years of full-time or part-time service at an NHSC-approved SUD service site.

    Note: If you serve in a private practice, you are not eligible to practice half-time.

  • Loan Repayment

    You will receive funds to repay your outstanding, qualifying, educational loans.

Which loan repayment program fits you best?

Compare our NHSC loan repayment programs—then choose the right one for you.

Important Dates

  • Application Launch Date:  February 20, 2020 
  • Application Submission Deadline: May 21, 2020
  • Employment Start Date: September 1, 2020   
  • Scholars' Service Obligation End Date: July 31, 2020 
  • Notification of Award: September 30, 2020 
  • Contract Termination Deadline: 60 days from the effective date of the contract

Determine Your Eligibility

Do you qualify for the NHSC-SUD Workforce LRP?

Yes, you qualify:

  • If you work at a SUD site with a Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSA) score that would ordinarily be too low to qualify for NHSC funding.
  • Using either your NHSC-approved site’s Mental Health or Primary Care HPSA score.

Are you eligible for an NHSC SUD Workforce LRP award?

Yes, as long as you are:

  • A United States citizen (U.S. born or naturalized) or United States national;
  • A provider (or eligible to participate as a provider) in the Medicare, Medicaid and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, as appropriate;
  • Fully trained and licensed to practice in the NHSC-eligible primary care medical, dental or mental/behavioral health discipline and state in which you are applying to serve; and
  • A health professional in an eligible discipline with qualified student loan debt for education that led to your degree.
  • Working at an NHSC -approved SUD treatment facility with a Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSA) score that would ordinarily be too low to qualify for NHSC funding.
  • Using either your NHSC-approved site’s Mental Health or Primary Care HPSA score.

Are military reservists eligible?

Yes. Find out about specific guidelines and requirements for military reservists.

Which disciplines and specialties are eligible?

We offer awards to providers who use evidence-based treatment models to treat substance use disorders. Evidence-based SUD treatment helps fight this epidemic through specific eligibility.

You must be trained and licensed to provide SUD treatment at NHSC-approved evidenced-based SUD treatment facilities.

Eligible Disciplines and Specialties

  • Physicians;
  • Nurse practitioners;
  • Certified nurse midwives;
  • Physician assistants;
  • Behavioral health professionals;
  • Substance use disorder counselors;
  • Registered nurses; and,
  • Pharmacists

NHSC-Approved SUD Treatment Sites

An NHSC-approved site is a health care facility providing complete outpatient services to people living in HPSAs. These sites meet NHSC site eligibility requirements and qualifications. 

What is an NHSC-approved SUD treatment facility?

A facility must meet the requirements in the NHSC Site Agreement (PDF - 303 KB) and NHSC Site Reference Guide (PDF - 788 KB), including SUD documentation (PDF - 257 KB).

  • SAMHSA-certified opioid treatment programs (OTPs)
  • Office-based opioid treatment facilities (OBOTs)
  • Non-opioid substance use disorder treatment facilities (SUD treatment facilities)
  • Federally Qualified Health Care Centers (FQHCs)
  • Rural Health Clinics (RHCs)
  • American Indian Health facilities
  • FQHC Look-Alikes
  • State or federal correctional facilities
  • Critical Access Hospitals
  • Community health centers
  • State or local health departments
  • Community outpatient facilities
  • Private practices
  • School-based clinics
  • Mobile units and free clinics

How to Apply

We guide you through the application and award process:

To apply, you must understand and follow our requirements.

Before You Apply

On average, it takes three weeks to complete an application.

Provide answers in your application that match your supporting documents. If they don’t, we’ll reject your application.

Submit a legible, complete online application—including all supporting documents—by the application deadline.

We will not:

  • Accept requests after the deadline to update a submitted application or to submit additional materials.
  • Fill in any missing information.
  • Contact you regarding missing information.

How can your application receive priority?

You will receive priority if you:

  • You have a DATA 2000 waiver;
  • You serve in an opioid treatment program; or
  • You have a license or certification in substance use disorder interventions, such as master’s-level substance use disorder counselors.

What makes an application complete?

You must include:

  • Online application;
  • Required supporting documents; and
  • Additional supplemental documentation (if applicable).

Application Requirements

The following provides an overview of the application requirements. Find our complete set of requirements and instructions in the application and program guidance.

Online Application Sections

Complete each of the sections below to submit your application.

  • Eligibility
    If you do not pass this initial screening portion of the application, you cannot continue with the application.
  • General Information
    Provide contact information such as your name, social security number, mailing and email addresses, as well as information about individual and family background.
  • Discipline, Training and Certification
    Provide information about your education, training, and licensure/certification.
  • Employment
    You will search for, and select the NHSC-approved site(s), where you currently provide or will provide patient care.
  • Employment Verification

    You must request an Employment Verification (EV). Through the Bureau of Health Workforce (BHW) Customer Service Portal, we will then notify the designated point(s)-of-contact at the NHSC-approved service site where you work (or plan to work), about your request.

    We will notify you once the site(s) point(s) of contact completes it.

    The site(s) must complete the electronic EV before you can submit your application. Therefore, it is your responsibility to ensure that the site point-of-contact completes the EV.

  • Loan Information

    Provide information on each qualifying educational loan for which you seek repayment.

    We will verify each by reviewing supporting documents, contacting lenders/holders, and checking your credit report.

    Each of the loans must have:

    • Name and contact information for the lender/holder.
    • Loan account number.
    • Original amount disbursed.
    • Original date of the loan.
    • Current outstanding balance (no more than 30 days from the date you submit your application).
    • Current interest rate.
    • Type of loan. If a consolidated loan, we need to know:
      • Original date of consolidation.
      • Original balance of consolidation.
      • Account number.
    • Purpose of loan.

Required Supporting Documentation

An application is incomplete without the following required supplemental documents:

  • Proof of status as a United States citizen or United States national

    Acceptable documents: birth certificate, current U.S. passport’s ID page, or a certificate of citizenship or naturalization.

    Unacceptable documents: driver’s license or Social Security card.

  • Loan Information Verification
    Provide two types of documentation for each loan you submit:
    • Account Statement
      Current information on your qualifying educational loans. This document should:
      • Be on official letterhead or other clear verification that it comes from the lender/holder;
      • Include the name of the borrower (i.e., the NHSC LRP applicant);
      • Contain the account number;
      • Include the date of the statement (cannot be more than 30 days from the date you submit your application);
      • Include the current outstanding balance (principal and interest) or the current payoff balance; and
      • Include the current interest rate.
    • Disbursement Report
      Verifies the originating loan information and should:
      • Be on official letterhead or other clear verification that it comes from the lender/holder;
      • Include the name of the borrower;
      • Contain the account number;
      • Include the type of loan;
      • Include the original loan date (must be prior to the date you submit your application);
      • Include the original loan amount; and
      • Include the purpose of the loan.

Additional Supplemental Documentation (if applicable)

You may need to submit additional supporting documents.

Submit these documents if we list them on the “Supporting Documents” page of the online application.

  • Geriatrics Certification
    A copy of the certificate of completion or diploma from your geriatrics training program.
  • Verification of Disadvantaged Background
    A school official must complete the Verification of Disadvantaged Background (PDF – 407 KB).
  • Verification of Existing Service Obligation
    Verification from the entity for which you have an existing service obligation stating you will complete service there prior to the NHSC application deadline.
  • Payment History
    Verification that you used all NHSC LRP funds to repay the qualifying educational loans approved as part of your most recent NHSC LRP contract, if applicable.

Print and keep a copy of your completed application package for your records.

After You Apply

You will receive a receipt of submission pop-up immediately upon submitting your online application.

How can you view your application and its status?

Log into the Bureau of Health Workforce (BHW) Customer Service Portal to view your application status. Use the BHW Customer Service Portal to download a copy of your application, supporting documents, or completed EVs.

Can you make edits after you submit your application?

Once you submit the online application, you may make edits, upload new documents, etc. You must make all edits and resubmit your final application by the application deadline.

Can you withdraw your application?

Yes, you may withdraw your application from consideration any time before the Secretary of Health & Human Services (HHS), or their designee, signs the contract.

How do we evaluate you?

We begin our review of all applications after the application deadline passes.

We use various selection factors and funding priorities to evaluate applicants of the NHSC LRP, and eventually determine who receives awards.

Additionally, the NHSC SUD Workforce LRP has priority factors for awards.

Notifying Award Finalists

If you become an award finalist, we will email you and ask that you log into the BHW Customer Service Portal. 

We will ask you to confirm: 

  • Your continued interest in receiving an award.
  • The validity of the loan and employment information you provided us in your application.
  • That you have read and understand the LRP contract. (We ask you to sign this if you receive, and accept, an award.)

We ask you to provide:

Your direct deposit banking information. We use this for award funds if you receive an award.

Note: You must respond by the deadline we provide in the Confirmation of Interest email.

What if you don’t respond in time?

If you do not complete the Confirmation of Interest process by the deadline, we may withdraw your application from consideration.

If you still wish to participate in the program, you will need to submit a new application during a future NHSC SUD Workforce LRP application cycle for first-time participants and compete with other providers based on that cycle’s program requirements.

Who makes award determinations?

Only the Secretary of HHS or their designee can make an NHSC SUD Workforce LRP award.

When will we notify you of an award?

You will receive final notification of an award, including your service obligation dates, no later than September 30.

Will we notify you if we do not select you for an award?

Yes. If we do not select you for an award, we will email you no later than September 30.

NHSC Contract & Service Obligation

When does your service obligation begin?

Your service obligation begins on the date that the HHS Secretary (or the Secretary’s designee) countersign your contract.

Can you terminate your contract?

The APG and your contract explain the timeline and requirements for terminating an NHSC LRP contract. If you terminate, you must repay all funds you receive under the contract.

Contact Us

Call 1-800-221-9393
(TTY: 1-877-897-9910)
M - F, 8 a.m. - 8 p.m. ET
(except federal holidays)
Email us
BHW Customer Service Portal

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Application & Program Guidance (APG)

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