Maine Financial Authority programs provide scholarships and student loan relief to help Maine attract and retain nurse educators and healthcare professionals in medicine, dentistry and behavioral health
Coopers Mills, MAINE – Governor Janet Mills today announced two initiatives in her Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan to attract and retain healthcare professionals in Maine.
The first initiative, offered through the Finance Authority of Maine (FAME), provides student loan repayment assistance to healthcare professionals in medicine, dentistry, behavioral health and nursing. Under the initiative’s programs, medical professionals can apply for up to $75,000 in relief for eligible student loan debt, while nursing educators can receive up to $40,000. To be eligible, nursing educators or healthcare professionals must work in Maine or commit to working in Maine for at least three years.
The Governor also announced today that she is increasing funding by $2 million for FAME’s Doctors for Maine’s Future Scholarship, which awards up to $25,000 in annual scholarships to students enrolled in Maine Medical’s track program. Center at Tufts University School of Medicine and at the University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine. The injection of funding into the program will allow FAME to immediately increase the number of scholarships to the historic average of eight per year and maintain this level of assistance for five more years than would have been possible without the funding.
The Governor made the announcement at the Sheepscot Valley Health Center in Coopers Mills. Since 1980, Sheepscot Valley Health Center has served residents of all ages in Coopers Mills, Jefferson, Somerville, Washington, Whitefield, Windsor and other surrounding communities. Sheepscot Valley Health Center is part of HealthReach Community Health Centers, a group of twelve federally licensed health centers located in central and western Maine.
“A strong, high-quality health care system is essential to the health of Maine residents and the health of our economy. Health care provides meaningful and important work and, as the pandemic has shown us, it is work that is more crucial than ever. But for too many people, the cost of education puts health professions out of reach,” said Governor’s Mills. “These scholarship and loan relief programs will bring more Maine people – especially young people – into the healthcare workforce and allow them to live and practice in communities across our state.”
“The impact of COVID-19 on Mainers cannot be underestimated, and our healthcare staff have been at the forefront from the very first case,” said Carlos Mello, interim CEO of FAME. “These programs will help some who see health care as a calling to be able to continue doing this important work without worrying about student debt.”
“For many years, healthcare facilities across the state have grappled with a shortage of workers, a challenge that has only been exacerbated by the pandemic,” said Jeanne Lambew, Commissioner of the Maine Department of Health and Human Services. “Attracting new healthcare professionals and helping others afford to teach the next generation of providers will ensure Maineans can continue to access quality healthcare for a long time to come.”
“The Mills administration’s plan to invest in the health workforce will allow providers to grow, innovate and transform care,” said Darcy Shargo, CEO of the Maine Primary Care Association. “Overcoming workforce shortages is the first step to ensuring greater access to primary and preventive care and ultimately improving health outcomes statewide.”
“Maine doctors thank Governor Mills for her commitment and vision to keep doctor’s offices open statewide during the pandemic,” said Maine Medical Association CEO Andrew MacLean. “The uncertainty and unknowns posed by COVID-19 are hitting smaller community physicians the hardest and staffing shortages continue. The recruitment and retention efforts of the governor’s jobs plan couldn’t come at a better time for Maine’s patients. »
“With education costs for clinical training often exceeding other skills, student loan debt among healthcare workers is a significant burden for many. We must do everything we can to strengthen our health workforce now and in the future,” said Timothy Dentry, President and CEO of Northern Light Health. “The student loan repayment and scholarships provided by the Mills administration through the Maine Jobs and Recovery Plan will help retain existing healthcare workers and recruit new staff in the future.”
“The COVID-19 pandemic has placed tremendous pressure on all aspects of our healthcare system and exacerbated a long-standing workforce crisis in Maine,” said Dr. Andy Mueller, CEO of MaineHealth. “The Doctors for Maine’s Future Scholarship program and student loan repayment programs represent strategic and collaborative investments in debt relief for our future healthcare workforce that exemplify our vision of ‘working together to make our communities the strongest healthy from America.
To view full eligibility information and apply for student loan relief programs, please visit the FAME website. Applications are open until September 1. To apply for the Doctors for Maine’s Future program, students should contact their medical school.
The announcement marks the third part of a broader $20 million effort by the Governor’s Jobs Plan to bolster Maine’s healthcare workforce, which she first announced in October 2021, including:
- In April, Governor Mills announced Healthcare Training for ME, an initiative to connect individuals and employers to training for healthcare careers through programs such as adult education, community colleges and public universities. Through the program, individuals and employers can receive financial assistance to enroll in vocational training or provide vocational training to their employees at little or no cost. The Maine Department of Labor also creates Health Career Navigators to help people interested in health fields determine the right career path for them.
- Last month, the Mills administration launched two healthcare career campaigns to promote healthcare jobs as a path to rewarding careers, especially for young people in Maine, as part of an initiative to address workforce challenges through public-private partnerships with providers.
- Strengthen access to health care by encouraging rural health care organizations to provide clinical training and hire students for clinical rotations and residency programs.
Governor Mills has also worked with the Legislature to make strategic investments in MaineCare tariffs that help providers pay direct care workers 125% of minimum wage, and pay an additional $121 million in recruiting bonuses. and retention of home and community care. suppliers.
The Governor, with the approval of the Legislative Assembly, is also offering two years of free community college to high school students in the classes of 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022 – which can help provide an affordable education for students interested in entering. in the domain of health. field of care.
Later today, Governor Mills will also visit Washburn Doughty in East Boothbay, visit Bigelow Labs in East Boothbay and stop at LCI in Nobleboro. The Governor’s events in Lincoln County come as she travels across the state. The governor visited Penobscot, Piscataquis, Sagadahoc, Cumberland, Kennebec, York, Somerset and Androscoggin counties.
The Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan is the Governor’s plan, approved by the Legislature, to invest nearly $1 billion in Federal American Rescue Plan funds to improve the lives of Maine residents and families, help businesses, create well-paying jobs and build an economy. ready for future prosperity.
It draws heavily on the recommendations of the Governor’s Economic Recovery Committee and the state’s 10-year Economic Development Strategy, turning them into concrete actions to improve the lives of Maine residents and strengthen the economy.
To learn more about Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan, visit maine.gov/jobsplan.
The Maine Financial Authority (FAME) offers innovative financial solutions to help Maine residents seek business and educational opportunities. FAME helps lead the creation of well-paying jobs by working on the nexus between economic development and workforce development.