New York to offer student debt relief to behavioral health professionals who work in the city’s network of hospitals

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — New York is launching a new student loan forgiveness program for behavioral health providers, thanks to an anonymous $1 million donation.

Mayor Eric Adams and NYC Health + Hospitals announced Sunday that a new debt relief program called the Behavioral Health Loan Repayment Program (BH4NYC) will help attract and retain physicians, nurse practitioners and other clinicians who care for New Yorkers with mental health needs or substance use disorders.

“Behavioral health professionals across our public health system work tirelessly to support the most vulnerable New Yorkers living with mental illness and alcohol and substance use disorders,” said Adams. “Too often these healthcare workers end up with crippling debt and have no choice but to work in the private sector to pay their bills. Especially at a time when the nation is facing a shortage of these life-saving practitioners and simultaneously facing an increased need for these professionals due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this loan forgiveness program will help us attract and retain top talent to to continue serving New Yorkers across the city.”

NYC Health + Hospitals will offer psychiatrists, psychiatric nurses, psychologists and licensed clinical social workers between $30,000 and $50,000 in debt relief in exchange for a three-year commitment to serve the public health system.

It will be available to eligible employees and new hires over the next year or until the $1 million grant is distributed.

Applications open Monday at www.nychealthandhospitals.org/BH4NYC/.

Applications will be accepted in two rounds — from July 25 to November. 25, 2022 and January 1 – May 1, 2023 – for current employees and review on the second and last Friday of each month for new applicants. Applications will be reviewed on an ongoing basis.

Eligible applicants must commit to working a minimum of three years full-time at NYC Health + Hospitals. Physicians will be eligible for a maximum of $50,000 in loan forgiveness and non-physician clinicians will be eligible for a maximum of $30,000 in loan forgiveness.

The program ends when the city reaches $1 million in total forgiven loans and is limited to one year.

“As we continue to see an increasing number of New Yorkers struggling with mental health and substance use disorder, the essential services of our behavioral health team are needed more than ever,” said the president and CEO of NYC Health + Hospitals Dr. Mitchell Katz. “This donation will enable us to recruit and retain outstanding clinicians to help address the ongoing mental health crisis.”

Here’s who qualifies for the debt relief program:

  • Completed an appropriate degree program – including those outside the United States. (Programs accredited by the committee in your discipline)
  • Are licensed and/or board certified within five years of completing training. The board certification requirement may be waived in some cases.
  • You are in good standing with the licensing authority of your clinical discipline.
  • Committed to working full-time for NYC Health + Hospitals for at least three years.
  • You are a physician with a minimum of $50,000 in school loan debt.
  • You are not a clinic doctor with a minimum of $30,000 in school loan debt.
  • You are not participating in or receiving loan forgiveness from another source.
  • They have never received loan forgiveness or payoff through work from NYC Health + Hospitals.
  • You are a US citizen or permanent resident alien holding an I-155 or I-551 card.

According to the city, the city’s network of community hospitals provides about half of all behavioral health services for children and adults in New York City.

As part of the nation’s largest municipal health care system, NYC Health + Hospitals’ community hospitals and neighborhood health centers offer a wide variety of excellent mental health services to promote recovery from mental illness of all types, according to New York. In addition, NYC Health + Hospitals provides high-quality alcohol and substance recovery programs as part of its behavioral and mental health services, with personalized, caring treatment plans that are effective for each patient.

There are currently no NYC Health + Hospital public hospitals on Staten Island. There is a Stapleton Health Center, NYC Health + Hospitals/Gotham Health, Vanderbilt located at 165 Vanderbilt Ave., and a long-term care facility at NYC Health + Hospitals/Sea View located at 460 Brielle Ave.

New Yorkers who need mental health or substance use support can call 844-NYC-4NYC for an appointment at NYC Health + Hospitals or contact NYC Well online.

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