Advocacy Alert: U.S. House Passes Legislation to Increase Funding for Recruiting & Retaining Treatment Providers for Substance Use Disorder

December 14, 2023

via Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger's website

A bipartisan majority of the U.S. House passed a bipartisan effort led by U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger reauthorizing and increasing funding for the Substance Use Disorder Treatment and Recovery (STAR) Loan Repayment Program (LRP).

STAR LRP repays student loans up to $250,000 for participants who agree to serve as a full-time SUD treatment provider in underserved areas. In 2021, more than 3,000 applications were received — but the program only had enough funding to support 255 students. In 2022, the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) projected a shortage of more than 24,000 behavioral health providers by 2030.

Passed as part of the Substance Use-Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment (SUPPORT) for Patients and Communities Reauthorization Act, a Spanberger-led provision would encourage more professionals to enter the substance use disorder (SUD) treatment field. Specifically, her legislation would reauthorize STAR LRP for five years through fiscal year 2028 and increase the authorized funding amount from $25 million to $40 million. Earlier this year, Spanberger and U.S. Representative Hal Rogers (R-KY-05) introduced a bipartisan bill reauthorizing and increasing funding for STAR LRP.

"Virginia's treatment and recovery professionals provide critical support to our neighbors during some of their darkest moments. They save lives and they save families -- and they deserve to be fairly rewarded for their work," said Spanberger. "By protecting STAR LRP and increasing its funding over the next five years, we are taking an important step in making sure those struggling with addiction and recovery have access to the help and support they need. I want to thank my colleague Congressman Rogers for his partnership on this critical issue for the long-term health, safety, and strength of our communities."

Spanberger's legislation -- passed as part of the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Reauthorization Act -- now heads to the U.S. Senate for further consideration.

Spanberger's effort has received endorsements from more than 20 organizations — including the American Society of Addiction Medicine, National Behavioral Health Association of Providers, Faces and Voices of Recovery, National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers, NAADAC, the Association for Addiction Professionals, American Osteopathic Academy of Addiction Medicine, Council on Recovery, American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry, American College of Academic Addiction Medicine (ACAAM), American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, and many more.

Read the full release here.

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