L.A. Care Health Plan, the nation's largest publicly operated health plan, is launching a new program within its $31 million Elevating the Safety Net initiative.

The health plan is committing more than $5.2 million to establish 14 new residency positions at five medical facilities. Some of the funding will also go to new faculty positions. This comes in the wake of a recent report that found California faces a shortage of 8,800 primary care physicians by 2030.

"Studies show that physicians often stay in the region where they complete their residency, and we need them here now," said John Baackes, L.A. Care CEO. "Vulnerable communities in L.A. County are already experiencing a physician shortage, so we have to do all we can to keep physicians here."

L.A. Care's Residency Support Program has awarded grants to:

Elevating the Safety Net launched last year with three initial programs — a physician recruitment program, a physician loan repayment program and a medical school scholarship program. Since the launch, 72 recruitment grants have been awarded, 48 new physicians have already been hired, and 18 physicians have received loan repayment grants. L.A. Care will soon be seeking board approval for an additional $31 million for the initiative.

In addition to launching the new residency program this week, L.A. Care is celebrating eight new L.A. Care Scholars. Each will receive up to $350,000 to complete medical school. Four will attend the Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science, and four will attend the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. A luncheon on July 19 at L.A. Care included a white coat ceremony that featured 2018 L.A. Care scholars presenting a stethoscope to the 2019 scholars.

Learn more about L.A. Care's Elevating the Safety Net initiative.

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