LANSING, Mich. (WLUC) - As part of its multifaceted plan to address the opioid epidemic, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) is making medical providers eligible for student loan repayment if they offer medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorder.
The goal of the program is to increase availability of high-quality treatment across the state, especially in areas where treatment is difficult to access. Medical professionals working in a broad range of settings will be eligible for $15,000 to $30,000 in loan repayment if they begin providing medication-assisted treatment or expand the number of patients they currently see. Providers can also receive a $5,000 bonus if they operate in a county that has no medication-assisted treatment providers.
“Michigan continues to need more health care providers to treat patients suffering from opioid use disorders,” said MDHHS Director Robert Gordon. “Expanding treatment capacity is critical so that Michigan can continue to combat the opioid epidemic that has torn apart so many families here and across the nation.”
Michigan will use federal State Targeted Response for Opioid Crisis dollars from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to repay the medical education loans. This is the second time that MDHHS has accepted applications for the program. Sixty-five providers had their student loans partially repaid after they applied in the first round earlier this year through a partnership with the Michigan Health Endowment Fund.
“Medication-assisted treatment is the gold standard for treating opioid use disorder. Increasing capacity to provide this treatment will help more individuals recover and thrive,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, MDHHS chief medical executive and chief deputy for health.
The program is available to medical doctors and osteopathic medicine doctors, nurse practitioners, physician assistants and substance use disorder counselors who have the training needed to offer buprenorphine under the Drug Addiction Treatment Act of 2000. To be eligible, providers must begin offering opioid treatment, increase the number of patients they currently see, or increase the number of patients they are permitted to see. Providers who work in a variety of settings are eligible to apply, including primary care, family medicine, Opioid Treatment Programs, emergency medicine, hospital-based settings, jails, and prisons.
Applications can be filed through Nov. 30. MDHHS will prioritize applications based on the number of patients to be served and the need for additional treatment capacity in the county.
Applications and additional information can be found at www.michigan.gov/miota, the webpage for the Michigan Opioid Treatment Access Loan Repayment Program. Health care providers are encouraged to review the materials and submit applications when the cycle begins. They can contact Megan Linton at 517-335-6713 for more information
Michigan has been significantly affected by the national opioid epidemic. The number of annual opioid-related overdose deaths in the state has more than tripled since 2011, from 622 to 2,053. As part of the state-government-wide plan to address the issue, MDHHS has developed an action plan that is focused on prevention, early intervention and treatment.
Find more information at www.michigan.gov/opioids.