RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif., Feb. 6, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- To increase the number of healthcare professionals in the Inland Empire and improve Member access to care, Inland Empire Health Plan (IEHP) is thrilled to announce its $40 million commitment over five years to launch the Healthcare Scholarship Fund (HSF). In partnership with local academic institutions, this fund will help remove the barrier of debt for medical students and develop a growing workforce for healthcare professionals to care for the Inland Empire's growing Medi-Cal population.
According to the California Health Care Foundation, the Inland Empire has one of the lowest ratios of Primary Care Physicians (PCPs) and specialty physicians per 100,000 people in California. In addition, the Inland Empire lacks adequate Specialty and Behavioral Health practitioner capacity to serve the current growing population.
"Sometimes, the only thing standing between ambition and opportunity is a solid bridge," said IEHP CEO Jarrod McNaughton. "Removing debt as an obstacle allows graduates to pursue additional paths of study. This will help them become leaders in their fields or allow them to devote themselves fully to patient care, which is critical to the physician shortage in our two counties."
In the Inland Empire, the average cost of a four-year medical degree is $276,800, about half the cost of an average California home. The HSF will aid students by removing the financial burden of medical school that often restricts the choices of many aspiring healthcare professionals and allow recipients to immediately pursue careers in healthcare.
"Anyone aspiring to serve and help others deserves a chance to do so, regardless of their economic background. We've seen similar scholarship funds really make a difference in communities, and we are excited to be a part of it in our own community," added McNaughton.
IEHP will be partnering with local academic institutions to facilitate financial distribution and application processes to perspective students. If you are an academic institution that would like more information on how to participate, please email HSF@iehp.org. General updates will be posted on IEHP.org and on IEHP Social Media platforms, which include Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram and LinkedIn.
IEHP, Inland Empire Health Plan, is a top 10 largest Medicaid health plan and the largest not-for-profit Medicare-Medicaid plan in the country. With a network of more than 6,400 providers and more than 2,000 employees, IEHP serves more than 1.2 million residents in Riverside and San Bernardino counties who are enrolled in Medicaid or Cal MediConnect Plan (Medicare-Medicaid Plan). Through a dynamic partnership with providers and community, award-winning service and innovative products, IEHP is fully committed to advocating for our members and providing them with quality, accessible and wellness-based health care services. For more information, visit www.iehp.org.
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SOURCE Inland Empire Health Plan (IEHP)