- Executive Office of Health and Human Services
Media Contact for Healey-Driscoll Administration Opens Second Round of MA Repay Loan Repayment Program Applications
Cecille Joan Avila, Media Relations Manager
BOSTON — The Healey-Driscoll administration announced that a second round of applications for the MA Repay program is now open through November 1. Following $140.9M in awards released earlier this year, this second round of MA Repay awards will offer an additional $25 million in student loan repayment opportunities through two separate initiatives for healthcare professionals who work for the Department of Mental Health (DMH) or provide continuous skilled nursing (CSN) for MassHealth. The MA Repay Program, implemented by the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers, provides educational debt relief to clinicians and patient support staff across Massachusetts.
“The MA Repay Program is an important step toward building a strong and diverse health care workforce in Massachusetts," said Governor Maura Healey. "We are excited to continue investing in those who care for our communities and relieve some of the student loan debt that is holding our health care professionals back."
“Strengthening the health care workforce is key to making Massachusetts a great place to work and live,” said Lt. Governor Kimberley Driscoll. “We are proud to offer for this opportunity to financially support our health care workers, who in turn can continue to provide necessary and critical care to the people who call Massachusetts home.”
“This second round of student loan repayments is an important way we can support our health care workforce, who do such challenging but important work,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Kate Walsh. “We are grateful to the legislature for making it possible to support this work, which shows our continued commitment to the healthcare workers and people they serve.”
“We are continuously grateful to be a part of this transformative initiative, while working alongside the Healey-Driscoll administration and the Massachusetts Legislature, to address the systemic inequities in education and healthcare,” said Michael Curry, Esq., President and CEO of the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers. “By providing financial relief and support to individuals burdened by student loan debt, we are not only alleviating their financial stress but also working to create equity and stability to the health and human services workforce in Massachusetts.”
This round of funding will offer loan repayment to two separate categories of healthcare professionals: employees of DMH who provide direct patient care or case management, and nurses who provide continuous skilled nursing (CSN) services to MassHealth members.
“I am grateful to the Massachusetts legislature for authorizing this dedicated loan repayment program which enables us to better retain and recognize DMH staff who tirelessly serve our children, youth, and adults experiencing serious emotional disturbance and mental illness,” said DMH Commissioner Brooke Doyle. “Going forward it will be an invaluable tool for recruiting diverse staff who represent the people we serve.”
Qualifying health professionals for the DMH-focused initiative include but are not limited to: social workers, primary care physicians, psychiatrists, nurses, substance use recovery coaches and case managers working in eligible settings. Loan repayment awards will range between $12,500 and $300,000 per individual depending on their occupation, academic degree level attained, and whether the individual works part-time or full-time. All DMH awardees must commit to four years of service.
Applications for the DMH-focused initiative opened on September 20, 2023, and will close on November 1, 2023, at 5:00 p.m. EST. Applicants who meet one of the following criteria will be prioritized to receive an award:
- Applicant can communicate with patients and provide care in a language other than English and that skill matches the needs of the site where they work.
- Applicant has a mentor or supervisor who endorses their clinical and/or leadership potential.
- Applicant demonstrates a commitment to the public sector in their career.
- Applicant demonstrates a commitment to providing clinical care to historically medically underserved patients.
“CSNs provide essential care to some of our most medically complex members” said Assistant Secretary for MassHealth Mike Levine, “This round of the MA Repay Program will help attract new talent to this critically important field, ensuring continual access to these services.”
Loan repayment awards for the CSN-focused initiative will range between $10,000 and $35,000 per individual depending on whether the individual works part-time or full-time, their credentials, and the length of service obligation.
Applications for the CSN-focused initiative also opened on September 20, 2023, and will be accepted on a rolling basis until either all funds are committed, or six months have passed from the application launch date. Awards will be made on a rolling basis, and it is strongly encouraged that applicants submit their application as soon as possible.
All applicants must meet the following criteria to be eligible:
- Graduated from an accredited nursing program on or after January 1, 2022.
- Provide continuous skilled nursing services to MassHealth members as a MassHealth contracted Independent Nurse, at a MassHealth-enrolled CSN agency or at a MassHealth-enrolled home health agency that provides CSN services.
MA Repay is funded through the American Rescue Plan Act and funding appropriated by the legislature. The additional $25 million in loan repayments follows the success of the first round of the MA Repay program which awarded $140.9M in student loan repayment awards to 2,935 behavioral health and primary care providers in August 2023. Two additional rounds of this program will be made available later in 2023 and in 2024.