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L.A. Care Commits $5 Million to Help Fund Launch of KGI School of Medicine

Health Plan Grant Supports New Physician Pipeline to Serve Low-Income Communities

L.A. Care Health Plan, the nation’s largest publicly operated health plan, announced today that it is committing $5 million to Keck Graduate Institute (KGI) to support the launch of the KGI School of Medicine in Claremont, California. The investment is part of L.A. Care’s Elevating the Safety Net, an initiative to address a looming physician shortage in Los Angeles County.

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(Graphic: Business Wire)

The funding will help facilitate the establishment, accreditation, and opening of the KGI School of Medicine. KGI, founded in 1997 and a member of The Claremont Colleges, is a leader in graduate education for biotechnology and healthcare.

“The KGI School of Medicine will serve as a pipeline for physicians into the L.A. County safety net,” said John Baackes, L.A. Care CEO. “This commitment is an exciting addition to our Elevating the Safety Net initiative, and we are honored to support the launch of a new medical school in Los Angeles County. Ultimately, our members will greatly benefit from this pipeline of physicians and other providers who are passionate about caring for these communities.”

L.A. Care’s Elevating the Safety Net initiative focuses on recruiting high-quality physicians into the Los Angeles County safety net – those practices and clinics that offer care regardless of a patient’s ability to pay. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends at least 60 primary care doctors for every 100,000 people, with 80 being preferable to ensure high-quality care. Right now, Los Angeles County has only 56 primary care physicians per 100,000 people.

The KGI School of Medicine will work to address the growing physician shortage by tailoring its admissions process to recruit local students who are passionate about improving the health of the region’s residents and who reflect the community’s demographics. Recruitment will consist of students from non-traditional pre-medical programs, and the curriculum will include training in compassion, empathy, and resilience. It will prepare doctors who are aware of how culture, language barriers, care access, food, housing, and income security, and geography affect healthcare outcomes.

Dr. David Lawrence, Dean of the KGI School of Medicine, said: “Research has shown that who we recruit, where we recruit them from, and how and where we train them is critical in getting doctors to practice care in the communities that need them the most.”

Lawrence, who is leading the development and opening of the school, served as the CEO and Chairman of the Kaiser Foundation Health Plan and Hospitals from 1991 to 2002.

Drawing on KGI’s strengths of faculty expertise and advanced educational technologies, the KGI School of Medicine will prepare a different type of physician.

With new scientific advances, powerful technology-driven tools, and advanced analytics, healthcare professionals now have an unprecedented ability to provide “Precision Health.” This solution can help people stay healthy, prevent illness and injury, and detect those conditions before symptoms occur.

“We will prepare outstanding, rigorously

$1B US Coronavirus Fund Remains Unspent, Except For Trump Ad On COVID-19

KEY POINTS

  • The bulk of the CDC’s $1 billion coronavirus funding remains unspent despite multiple requests to do so
  • The funding was part of the Paycheck Protection Program authorized five months ago to help fight the virus
  • The Trump administration directed $200 million of the funding to a $300 million anti-virus ad campaign

Most of the $1 billion funding package intended to help the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) conduct COVID-19 contract tracing and testing remains unspent, except for $200 million the Trump administration used for ad campaign about the virus. 

According to a Bloomberg report, which cited unnamed sources familiar with the situation, the $1 billion in funding was part of the Paycheck Protection Program and Care Enhancement Act, which was authorized more than five months ago.

The relief package was intended to help the CDC improve its surveillance, epidemiology, and contact tracing efforts. It was also allocated for laboratory capacity expansion and boost testing for COVID-19, however, those programs have yet to be funded.

A CDC spokesman said the Trump administration directed over $200 million of the funding to go toward a $300 million coronavirus ad campaign that was developed outside the agency. Other funds were used to support the White House’s vaccine development program. 

The health official also testified that CDC experts were not involved in the advertising campaign that “aimed to defeat despair and inspire hope” in Americans. Former Trump campaign aide Michael Caputo organized the ad, which has suffered setbacks in its production, Politico reported.

The report said most of the funding has been stalled and inaccessible to the CDC since September despite the agency’s requests for access to some of the money over the summer. Typically, fundings for agencies should go through Congress and gain approval from the cabinet department and the White House Office of Management and Budget.

A senior official for the Trump administration dismissed the allegations and said that the budget department held up no money. The official refused to share details about when the approval was passed or how the money would be spent. 

The news comes at a time the CDC is desperate for more funding to move forward with its vaccination plans. On Sept. 16, CDC Director Robert Redfield appeared at a hearing with lawmakers, saying the agency would “urgently” need $6 billion to distribute a coronavirus vaccine, The Hill reported. 

“Right now, we’ve leveraged about $600 million, but we do not have the resources to support 64 jurisdictions to get this plan operational, so to me, it’s an urgency,” Redfield said. “The time is now for us to be able to get those resources out to the states, and we currently don’t have those resources.”

CDC Director Robert Redfield attends a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing reviewing coronavirus response efforts on September 16, 2020 CDC Director Robert Redfield attends a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing reviewing coronavirus response efforts on September 16, 2020 Photo: GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / POOL

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U.N. chief: time for national plans to help fund global COVID-19 vaccine effort

NEW YORK/GENEVA (Reuters) – United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Wednesday it is time for countries to start using money from their national COVID-19 recovery and response plans to help fund the World Health Organization’s global vaccine plan.

The Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator programme and its COVAX facility has so far received $3 billion, but needs another $35 billion. It aims to deliver two billion doses of coronavirus vaccines by the end of next year, 245 million treatments and 500 million tests.

“The ACT-Accelerator provides the only safe and certain way to re-open the global economy as quickly as possible. A national vaccine effort in a handful of countries will not unlock the doors to the global economy and restore livelihoods,” Guterres told a high-level virtual U.N. event.

Britain’s Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab – a co-host of the meeting along with Guterres, the World Health Organization (WHO) and South Africa – urged other countries to join the global effort, saying the ACT-Accelerator is the best hope of bringing the pandemic under control.

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said 167 countries have joined COVAX global vaccines facility, representing 70% of the world’s population, adding: “And the list is growing every day”. He said one million people are confirmed to have lost their lives to COVID-19, but “the real number is certainly higher.”

Guterres said the programme needed an immediate injection of $15 billion to “avoid losing the window of opportunity” for advance purchase and production, to build stocks in parallel with licensing, boost research, and help countries prepare.

“We cannot allow a lag in access to further widen already vast inequalities,” Guterres told the virtual event.

“But let’s be clear: We will not get there with donors simply allocating resources only from the Official Development Assistance budget,” he said. “We need to think bigger. It is time for countries to draw funding from their own response and recovery programmes.”

Guterres called on all countries to step up significantly in the next three months.

He noted that developed countries had spent trillions of dollars on the socio-economic impacts of the crisis so “surely, we can invest a small fraction of that to stop the spread of the disease everywhere.”

Bill Gates told the U.N. event that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation had signed an agreement with 16 pharmaceutical companies on Wednesday.

“In this agreement the companies commit to, among other things, scaling up manufacturing, at an unprecedented speed, and making sure that approved vaccines reach broad distribution as early as possible,” Gates said.

Reporting by Michelle Nichols and Stephanie Ulmer-Nebehay; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Paul Simao

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time for national plans to help fund global COVID-19 vaccine effort

By Michelle Nichols and Stephanie Nebehay

NEW YORK/GENEVA (Reuters) – United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Wednesday it is time for countries to start using money from their national COVID-19 recovery and response plans to help fund the World Health Organization’s global vaccine plan.

The Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator programme and its COVAX facility has so far received $3 billion, but needs another $35 billion. It aims to deliver two billion doses of coronavirus vaccines by the end of next year, 245 million treatments and 500 million tests.

“The ACT-Accelerator provides the only safe and certain way to re-open the global economy as quickly as possible. A national vaccine effort in a handful of countries will not unlock the doors to the global economy and restore livelihoods,” Guterres told a high-level virtual U.N. event.

Britain’s Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab – a co-host of the meeting along with Guterres, the World Health Organization (WHO) and South Africa – urged other countries to join the global effort, saying the ACT-Accelerator is the best hope of bringing the pandemic under control.

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said 167 countries have joined COVAX global vaccines facility, representing 70% of the world’s population, adding: “And the list is growing every day”. He said one million people are confirmed to have lost their lives to COVID-19, but “the real number is certainly higher.”

Guterres said the programme needed an immediate injection of $15 billion to “avoid losing the window of opportunity” for advance purchase and production, to build stocks in parallel with licensing, boost research, and help countries prepare.

“We cannot allow a lag in access to further widen already vast inequalities,” Guterres told the virtual event.

“But let’s be clear: We will not get there with donors simply allocating resources only from the Official Development Assistance budget,” he said. “We need to think bigger. It is time for countries to draw funding from their own response and recovery programmes.”

Guterres called on all countries to step up significantly in the next three months.

He noted that developed countries had spent trillions of dollars on the socio-economic impacts of the crisis so “surely, we can invest a small fraction of that to stop the spread of the disease everywhere.”

Bill Gates told the U.N. event that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation had signed an agreement with 16 pharmaceutical companies on Wednesday.

“In this agreement the companies commit to, among other things, scaling up manufacturing, at an unprecedented speed, and making sure that approved vaccines reach broad distribution as early as possible,” Gates said.

(Reporting by Michelle Nichols and Stephanie Ulmer-Nebehay; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Paul Simao)

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