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Oregon Behavioral Health Loan Repayment Program

Overview

As part of its Behavioral Health Workforce Initiative, the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) established the Oregon Behavioral Health Loan Repayment Program. The program supports behavioral health care workers who:

  • Represent and/or serve underserved communities in Oregon, and
  • Serve people regardless of their health care coverage (e.g., Medicaid, Medicare, or private insurance) or ability to pay.

As mandated by House Bill 2949 (2021), OHA seeks to increase community access to behavioral health providers for:

  • People of color
  • Tribal members
  • LGBTQIA2S+ youth
  • Veterans
  • People with disabilities
  • People with intellectual and developmental disabilities
  • People with limited English proficiency
  • Adults in custody
  • People living in rural communities

Providers who serve, represent or identify with other underserved communities may also apply for OHA's consideration.

Award Information

In exchange for two years of service, program participants will receive a tax-free award of funds to repay qualifying undergraduate and post-graduate loan debt. OHA may also consider other educational loan debt. OHA will calculate awards based on the participant's balance owed on qualifying loans.

  • For full-time workers (32+ hours per week), the award is 70 percent of their qualifying educational loan debt balance, up to $50,000 per obligation year.
  • For part-time workers (16-31 hours per week), the award is 35 percent of their qualifying educational loan debt balance, up to $25,000 per obligation year.

Participants who do not meet the two-year service obligation must repay the full or partial balance of their award for time not served during each obligation year.

Who Can Apply?

Applicants must be currently employed providing at least 16 hours of behavioral health care services per week, including direct or telehealth patient/client care, charting and clinical supervision. Applicants must also be one of the following provider types:

Providers licensed, or on track for licensure (e.g., associates), by the following authorities to render behavioral health services:

These providers include:

  • ​​Licensed Clinical Social Worker
  • Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner
  • Marriage & Family Therapist
  • Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor
  • Licensed Professional Counselor
  • Clinical Psychologist
  • Physician Assistant
  • Physician in behavioral health (e.g., psychiatrist)
  • Art Therapist
  • School Counselor
  • Licensed Practical Nurse
  • Registered Nurse
  • Nurse Practitioner

Providers with active certification by the Mental Health and Addiction Certification Board of Oregon (MHACBO) to render behavioral health services. 

MHACBO-certified providers include:

  • ​Qualified Mental Health Professional (QMHP)
  • Qualified Mental Health Associate (QMHA)
  • Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CADC)
  • Certified Gambling Addiction Counselor (CGAC)
  • Certified Prevention Specialist (CPS)
  • Certified Recovery Mentor (CRM)
  • Certified Gambling Recovery Mentor (CGRM)

​Providers registered in the Traditional Health Worker Registry:

  • Birth Doula
  • Community Health Worker (CHW)
  • Personal Health Navigator (PHN)
  • Peer Support Specialist (PSS)
  • Peer Wellness Specialist (PWS)

OHA will give priority scoring and awards to applicants who:

  • Represent or identify with the ethnicity or culture of underserved communities.
  • Provide behavioral health care services to underserved communities.
  • Have lived experience with underserved communities.
  • Speak a second language in a behavioral health care setting for underserved communities.
  • Work at a Community Mental Health Program, a publicly funded or public mental health facility, or a nonprofit mental health facility that contracts with a county to provide mental health services.
  • Provide behavioral health care services in a designated Health Professional Shortage Area with a score of 4 or higher.

Application Deadline

Due to the high volume of applications received so far, OHA has postponed the next round of applications. The next round will open Nov. 1, 2022, and close Jan. 3, 2023.

We thank you for your patience as we work through our current applications. We look forward to opening our next round of applications.  

If you already applied and are not chosen for an award, we will automatically roll your application over to the next review cycle for consideration. If you are awarded in the next review cycle, we will ask you to send us the following information:

  • Updated educational loan documentation dated within 30 days of the request.
  • Any updates to your full- or part-time employment status, practice site location, duties, or employment contract language.
  • Any additional information (if there are changes to the application).



Updates

Due to the high volume of applications received, OHA anticipates completing this first review cycle by mid-September. We will email all applicants their results at that time.

Thank you for your patience during this time. 

Resources

House Bill 2949 (2021)

Questions?

Email the Behavioral Health Workforce Incentive team