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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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