L.A. Care Celebrates Reaching a $100 Million Milestone for its Elevating the Safety Net Initiative + the Fifth Year of Awarding Eight Full-Ride Medical School Scholarships
LOS ANGELES , July 22, 2022 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ — L.A. Care Health Plan, the nation’s largest publicly operated health plan, is celebrating its 25th Anniversary. The health plan was founded in April of 1997 as part of California’s two-plan model of Medi-Cal managed care in Los Angeles County. Since then, L.A. Care has grown from a 100-person organization serving more than 200,000 Medi-Cal recipients to a plan that employs more than 2,000 full-time employees and serves more than 2.7 million members in four product lines.
“Throughout L.A. Care’s history, we have remained committed to a mission of serving L.A. County’s marginalized, low-income communities and supporting the health care safety net needed to ensure access to quality care for these individuals and families,” said L.A. Care CEO John Baackes. “I am proud to say that L.A. Care has always been more than just a plastic card in a member’s wallet. As a part of our commitment to health equity, we are working to address our members’ social needs, which not only adds value to our health plan members, but also supports our providers who are striving for the best possible health outcomes for our members.”
L.A. Care is marking its 25th anniversary with two major announcements during a celebration today at Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science.
First, the health plan is announcing that its Elevating the Safety Net initiative will hit a $100 million milestone by the end of its anniversary year toward its efforts to boost the number of new physicians in the L.A. County safety net, those clinics and practices that offer care regardless of an individual’s ability to pay. The $155 million initiative, which launched in 2018, offers grants for clinics and practices to recruit new physicians into the safety net, and it offers medical school loan repayment for physicians who commit to working in the safety net for three years. So far 139 physicians have been recruited into the L.A. County safety net and 144 physicians have been offered loan repayment grants.
The second announcement involves another program in the initiative – eight full medical school scholarships are awarded each year. Today, we are announcing the fifth cohort L.A. Care scholars, with four attending the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and four attending the Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science (CDU).
“CDU is committed to cultivating diverse health professional leaders who are dedicated to social justice and health equity for underserved populations. The amount of hard work, perseverance, and sacrifice it takes for a student to become a physician comes with its own set of hurdles that can impact and distract from the learning experience,” shared Deborah Prothrow-Stith, Dean and Professor of Medicine for CDU’s College of Medicine and the university’s Interim Provost. “As the University diligently works to train these future physicians, the scholarships provided by L.A. Care Health Plan’s ‘Elevating the Safety Net’ initiative helps them gain peace of mind to remain focused on this important mission.”
One L.A. Care Scholar, Dupre Orr, who was the first in his family to go to college, graduated from Cal State Dominguez Hills and will attend CDU.
“I am still shocked about being selected for the L.A Care Scholarship, but extremely grateful for the opportunity and honored and excited to be a part of the 5th group of Elevating the Safety Net scholars,” said Orr. “This is life changing, and I can’t put into words how much this will impact my success in completing medical school. This is a dream come true, and I can’t wait to start the journey toward becoming a physician.”
The L.A. Care Scholars who will attend the Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science are:
- Christopher Gonzalez
- Hailey Gonzales
- Trevon Morales
- Dupre Orr
Like CDU, the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA is committed to diversity in the medical workforce.
“L.A. Care continues to elevate our community in meaningful ways. We share a commitment to reducing barriers to high-quality healthcare,” said Steven Dubinett, MD, Interim Dean of the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. “This generous scholarship program alleviates the financial burden of medical school for our student recipients and allows them to pursue positions in historically underserved communities in Los Angeles, leading to better health outcomes for the communities we serve.”
Gladys Bello, who received her degree in Anthropology at UCLA, will stay there to get her medical degree.
“This scholarship means the world to me and will reduce the financial burden of attending medical school,” says Bello. “My background as a low-income Latina and the insights I have gained working with minorities have given me a deeper understanding of how poverty presents significant barriers to a healthy lifestyle. I aim to advocate for the underserved by focusing on access to preventive care and by generally serving as a liaison for underserved communities.”
The L.A. Care Scholars who will attend the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA are:
- Gladys Bello
- Christopher Hernandez
- Leslie Nunez
- Alejandro Quiñones Baltazar
Attendees at today’s event will enjoy a special “white coat” ceremony for the eight new scholars. L.A. Care’s 25th anniversary celebration will include a brand campaign, a social media campaign, and in the fall, the L.A. Care/Blue Shield Promise Community Resource Centers will provide 25th anniversary gifts to visitors. To learn more about L.A. Care’s history and accomplishments, please visit our website at lacare.org/25years.
About L.A. Care Health Plan
L.A. Care Health Plan serves more than 2.5 million members in Los Angeles County, making it the largest publicly operated health plan in the country. L.A. Care offers four health coverage plans including Medi-Cal, L.A. Care Covered™, L.A. Care Cal MediConnect Plan and the PASC-SEIU Homecare Workers Health Care Plan, all dedicated to being accountable and responsive to members. As a public entity, L.A. Care’s mission is to provide access to quality health care for L.A. County’s low-income communities, and to support the safety net required to achieve that purpose. L.A. Care prioritizes quality, access and inclusion, elevating health care for all of L.A. County. For more information, follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.
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SOURCE L.A. Care Health Plan