Grants to Help Bring up to 18 New Physicians into the L.A. County Safety Net
LOS ANGELES – The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) predicts the United States could see a shortage of as many as 124,000 physicians by 2034. The AAMC says the shortage will disproportionately hurt low-income communities of color, which already face access to care issues. Today, L.A. Care Health Plan, the nation’s largest publicly operated health plan, announced it has awarded $2.21 million dollars to 17 awardees in its tenth round of Provider Recruitment Program grants. The funding could bring up to 18 new physicians into the Los Angeles County safety net.
In 2018, L.A. Care launched Elevating the Safety Net (ESN), a five-year, $155 million initiative to recruit highly qualified primary care physicians into the Los Angeles County safety net. Safety net providers offer health care access to a substantial share of the Medi-Cal population and the uninsured. The initiative is an important measure in helping to advance health equity for L.A. Care members and their communities.
“COVID-19 put a spotlight on health disparities and access to care problems in communities of color. We must get more doctors into these communities, and our Elevating the Safety Net initiative is doing just that,” said John Baackes, L.A. Care CEO. “Since launching, the recruitment grants have resulted in 130 new physicians hired into the county’s safety net to date, many of them who speak the same language and come from similar backgrounds as the patients they serve, which has shown to improve health outcomes.”
Asian Pacific Health Care Venture (APHCV) is receiving its fourth Provider Recruitment Program grant.
“With the recruitment of medical providers becoming more challenging each year, the L.A. Care Provider Recruitment Program has been an extremely helpful resource for competitively recruiting quality providers,” said Kazue Shibata, APHVC CEO. “The program is essential for attracting new providers to Los Angeles, a city with a high need for health care services for low-income individuals and families.”
Manual Zhu, DO, was recruited by APHCV in a previous cycle of grants.
“I am very appreciative to be given the opportunity to work with and help families that are undergoing similar struggles as my own did when we first immigrated to Los Angeles,” said Zhu. The Provider Recruitment Program attracts and rewards passionate caregivers and it has been extremely inspiring working alongside them.”
David La, DO, is another APHCV doctor hired through an L.A. Care grant.
“Many of our patients come from immigrant families who work hard yet still struggle to obtain access to quality healthcare. I have been blessed to have the opportunity, each and every day, to help tear down those barriers and provide medical care to our deserving patients and their families,” said La.
Each new physician recruited into the safety net can serve as many as 2,000 new patients.
The $2.21 million in grants announced today brings the total award amount offered from all 10 rounds to approximately $25.1 million.
The tenth round awardees are:
Asian Pacific Health Care Venture, Los Angeles
Bartz-Altadonna Community Health Center, Lancaster
Central Neighborhood Health Foundation, Los Angeles
Chinatown Service Center, Alhambra and Los Angeles
Herald Christian Health Center, Rosemead
Kheir Clinic, Los Angeles
MLK Community Health Foundation, Los Angeles
Park Tree Community Health Center, Pomona
Saban Community Clinic, Los Angeles
St. John’s Well Child and Family Center, Compton and Los Angeles
T.H.E. Health and Wellness, Los Angeles
UMMA, Los Angeles
Universal Community Health Center, Los Angeles
Venice Family Clinic, Venice and Santa Monica
Newly recruited physicians to the safety net are eligible for the Provider Loan Repayment Program, another part of Elevating the Safety Net. Under the program, physicians receive medical school loan repayments of up to $5,000 per month for up to 36 months, as long as they continue to work within the safety net. To date, 97 physicians have been approved for loan repayment grants.
For information about the other programs in Elevating the Safety Net, please visit our Elevating the Safety Net web page.
About L.A. Care Health Plan
L.A. Care Health Plan serves more than 2.4 million members in Los Angeles County, making it the largest publicly operated health plan in the country. L.A. Care offers four health coverage plans including Medi-Cal, L.A. Care Covered™, L.A. Care Cal MediConnect Plan and the PASC-SEIU Homecare Workers Health Care Plan, all dedicated to being accountable and responsive to members. As a public entity, L.A. Care’s mission is to provide access to quality health care for L.A. County's low-income communities, and to support the safety net required to achieve that purpose. L.A. Care prioritizes quality, access and inclusion, elevating health care for all of L.A. County. For more information, follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.