Grants Help States Bring Primary Care Providers to Underserved

Health Care Financing Review, Summer 1993 | Go to article overview

Grants Help States Bring Primary Care Providers to Underserved


Fifteen States will participate in a $16.5 million, two-stage grant program challenging States to improve the distribution of primary care providers in underserved rural and inner-city communities, it has been announced by officials of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

The 15 States were chosen from among 44 that applied and have received 15-month awards of up to $100,000 each from the foundation's initiative, "Practice Sights: State Primary Care Development Strategies." Lead organizations for the 15 States, each designated by its governor, include 13 government agencies, 1 Area Health Education Center (AHEC) program, and 1 university. The lead agencies will work cooperatively with State agencies, universities, AHECs, primary health care associations, legislative leaders, and primary health care providers to bring about the intended redistribution of primary care providers.

The proposed strategies are aimed at assuring greater success in recruiting and retaining health care providers in medically underserved communities. Plans include involving communities in the recruitment and retention of primary care providers, as well as in improving ways to track providers; removing barriers to the full practice by physician assistants, nurse practitioners, and certified nurse-midwives; and improving finance mechanisms to support primary care.

After the 15-month development phase, up to 10 of the 15 States will be eligible to receive 3-year grants averaging $800,000. Some may be eligible for so-called program-related investments, averaging $700,000, to develop loan funds to support primary care providers.

This initiative is directed by James D. Bernstein, director of the North Carolina Office of Rural Health and Resource Development and president of the North Carolina Foundation for Alternative Health Programs in Raleigh, North Carolina.

As the Nation's largest philanthropy dedicated to improving the health and health care of Americans, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has committed $64.1 million toward this and other primary care initiatives during the 1990s.

For more information, contact Marc Kaplan at (609) 243-5937.

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