For many, the dream of becoming a doctor can be quite a daunting task. Not only does it require years of medical school training, there is also the very real struggle of paying back student loans. Well now a new incentivized program has been put in place throughout Michigan, offering debt relief for young M.D.’s who incorporate addiction treatment into their practices.
The initiative was pushed through by The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (or MDHHS, for short) and provides paybacks for both undergraduate and medical school debts. In total, the org was able to secure more than $500,000 for the first phase of the program.
MDHHS Director Robert Gordon spoke to several local news sites about the exciting news.
“Michigan needs more health care providers that will treat patients suffering from opioid use disorders,” Gordon explained in a statement.“This program provides critical educational debt repayments to incentivize providers to treat patients with substance use disorders in communities across the state. This will help strengthen our capacity to respond to this growing epidemic.”
Truth be told, Michigan could certainly use some help when it comes to fighting addiction and the opioid epidemic. According to stats on the MDHHS website, the state had more than 2,700 fatal overdoses in 2017. There were also 11.4 million painkiller prescriptions written during that same period.
Obviously, it makes sense to bring more local doctors into this conversation. By offering these new incentives, not only will treatment be encouraged more; but there will also be more medical professionals who are educated about the dangers of prescribing drugs like OxyContin.
The site also published an alarming Michigan overdose chart, illustrating just how fast this crisis is moving. As you can see below, from 2013 onward the amount of drug-related fatalities is skyrocketing.
The payback program is available to doctors and osteopathic M.D.’s, as well as nurse practitioners, physicians’ assistants and even substance abuse counselors. So in truth, many people in the medical and recovery field can benefit from a movement such as this.
Sadly, it is true that national M.D.’s don’t always incorporate addiction treatment into their regular routine. It certainly doesn’t have the glamour or high incomes that you’d get from plastic surgery, but these types of roles are sorely needed.
There are, of course, strength in numbers and perhaps a program like this can encourage more young docs to take up the cause. Not only would they be able to pay back their loans faster, they would (more importantly) be making a real dent in the crisis.