The Indiana Department of Health is hoping to entice mental health care professionals to work in rural and opioid-stricken counties in the state by offering to help pay their student loans.
“This program will help bring more qualified medical professionals to rural Indiana communities and expand access to quality treatment for individuals with substance use disorder,” Jim McClelland, the state’s executive director for drug prevention, treatment and enforcement, said in a release on the initiative.
In partnership with the federal Health Resources and Services Administration, the Indiana Health Care Professional Recruitment and Retention Fund program aims to encourage “psychiatrists, alcohol and substance use counselors and practitioners in related disciplines to practice in a specific, federally designated Indiana region experiencing high numbers of opioid deaths,” the state health department said in the release.
Through the four-year program, officials hope to attract practitioners to the counties of Blackford, Dearborn, Fayette, Franklin, Grant, Henry, Jay, Randolph, Switzerland, Union and Wayne. The goal is to issue at least 30 awards of up to $20,000 each year of the program, which will be funded at $600,000 annually. Primary care physicians also may be chosen to participate.