UnitedHealthcare & RI Foundation Offer $250K for Primary Care Docs
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
The health care provider has donated $250,000 to the Rhode Island Foundation’s loan forgiveness program for primary care professionals.
Helping relieve student loan burdens
The goal of the loan forgiveness program is to increase the number of primary care physicians practicing in the state by helping them pay off their student loans. This in turn will help improve access to primary care for Rhode Islanders. The program awards up to $20,000 annually for up to four years for each physician. UnitedHealthcare’s donation brings the Foundation's fund total to $1.35 million.
The need for primary care in RI
A 2008 study by the Journal of the American Medical Association found that only 2 percent of students graduating from medical school plan to practice primary care. Also, it is predicted that the United States will need 40 percent more primary care physicians by 2020 to meet increasing demand for such care. Currently, 66,000 Rhode Islanders do not have access to primary care physicians or facilities, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
“Access to primary care is critical to the health of the communities we serve,” said Stephen Farrell, CEO, UnitedHealthcare of New England. “UnitedHealthcare is contributing to the Rhode Island’s loan forgiveness program to help reduce the financial burden that primary care physicians often face after completing their studies. This program is just one of many efforts UnitedHealthcare is supporting to improve Rhode Islanders’ access to primary care.”
A vote of confidence for RI Foundation
“This gift is an enormous vote of confidence in support of our efforts to address the shortage of primary care physicians in our state. We welcome UnitedHealthcare’s collaboration in helping to provide thousands of Rhode Islanders with access to primary health care,” said Neil Steinberg, president and CEO, the Rhode Island Foundation. “We know that access to quality, affordable primary health care enhances preventive care, improves health outcomes, and ultimately reduces health care costs. This issue is critical to the future well-being of our state's residents and economy, and we are thrilled that UnitedHealthcare is supporting our efforts.”
Since 2008, The Rhode Island Foundation has made grants of more than $6 million to the health care sector in Rhode Island. UnitedHealthcare, a UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH) company, serves more than 250,000 Rhode Island residents with a health care provider network of 13 hospitals and more than 2,500 physicians statewide.
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