Loan Repayment Act Passes in House

With strong bipartisan support for training addiction professionals, Congress on June 12 passed the Substance Use Disorder Workforce Loan Repayment Act of 2018 (HR 5102) by unanimous voice vote.

If approved by the Senate, the act would make addiction medicine physicians and other health professionals practicing in high-need locales eligible for up to $250,000 in student loan relief.

“If we want to maximize our down payment for the future, these professionals are the key,” Rep. Harold Rogers (R-Ky) said of the bill he cosponsored with Rep. Katherine Clark (D-Mass).

Rep. Rogers introduced the proposal last fall after a discussion about the need for addiction medicine training with Anna Lembke, MD, program director of the Stanford Addiction Medicine Fellowship and immediate-past president of the Addiction Medicine Fellowship Directors Association.

Rep Clark noted, “Every new treatment professional we invest in could mean survival for someone’s child, parent, sibling or friend, who may not have had access to treatment otherwise.”

Numerous organizations in addition to American College of Academic Addiction Medicine support the bill, including the American Society of Addiction Medicine, the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry, the American Medical Association, the American Nurses Association, and the National Council for Behavioral Health.