Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield is the giver of $1 million to UAMS to establish scholarships to train primary care physicians.
A $1 million grant announced today to the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) College of Medicine from Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield will go toward increasing the number of primary care physicians in the state.
The grant will create the Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield Primary Care Scholarship to be given to a junior or senior medical student in the UAMS College of Medicine. Scholarship recipients will be chosen from those planning to pursue post-graduate training in family medicine, general internal medicine or general pediatrics. The students also must intend to practice primary care in Arkansas, preferably in the more rural parts of the state.
“The shortage of primary care physicians is at a critical point in this country,” said UAMS Chancellor Dan Rahn, M.D., “Primary care physicians are the first line of defense and the ones who promote preventive care, which in turn builds healthier communities and reduces health care costs. This is truly a noble and visionary gift by Arkansas Blue Cross, and it will greatly benefit Arkansas and the future of health care.”
Primary care is in critical condition, particularly in rural Arkansas. The main reasons for the crisis are:
• A shortage of primary care physicians, including family practice, pediatric and general internal medicine doctors.
• An aging population and an illness burden higher than the national average, which creates high patient volume for the physicians who are available.
• The potential projected influx of more than 251,000 Arkansans to the Medicaid program in 2014 under health care reform.