Up to 23 New Physicians Will Serve in the L.A. County Safety Net Thanks to Grants
LOS ANGELES – The winter surge of COVID-19 cases in Los Angeles County has the health care system stretched to the limit, and it has put a spotlight on the physician shortage that existed even before the pandemic. L.A. Care Health Plan, the largest publicly operated health plan in the country, has been working to address that shortage, and today announced 21 awardees in its eighth round of Elevating the Safety Net Provider Recruitment Program grants.
In 2018, L.A. Care launched Elevating the Safety Net (ESN), a five-year, $155 million initiative to recruit highly qualified primary care physicians into the Los Angeles County safety net. Safety net providers offer health care access to a substantial share of the Medi-Cal population and the uninsured.
“Doctors and other health care workers have been facing extraordinary challenges during this pandemic, and L.A. Care is determined to do all it can to support these workers now and in the future,” said John Baackes, L.A. Care CEO. “With 169 grants awarded, Elevating the Safety Net has resulted in 119 new physicians in L.A. County since its launch.”
Kheir Clinic is receiving its third recruitment grant.
“L.A. Care’s Provider Recruitment Program has been a most invaluable resource in our ability to recruit critically important Thai and Korean-bilingual physicians,” said Erin Pak, the CEO of Kheir Clinic. “The two doctors recruited in the previous grants have been instrumental in our capacity building, significantly increasing the community’s timely access to physicians who understand the patients’ unique cultural, linguistic and health care needs. During the pandemic, in partnership with the Thai Consulate, Dr. Ida Tuwatananurak has been in the forefront as a trusted messenger to the Southern California Thai community, communicating COVID-related news and information, as well as the how-to’s of telehealth.”
Dr. Frank Choe is another physician who has joined the Kheir Clinic thanks to an L.A. Care recruitment grant.
"During my residency training, I provided care to at risk populations of L.A. County and found it very rewarding to be part of the community and to help out the community,” said Choe. “Once I finished my residency program, I joined Kheir Clinic with support from L.A. Care, to continue providing care to at-risk populations."
Each new physician recruited into the safety net can serve as many as 2,000 new patients.
The more than $2.6 million in grants announced today bring the total award amount from all eight rounds to nearly $22 million.
The eighth round awardees are:
APLA, Los Angeles
Asian Pacific Health Care Venture, Los Angeles
Central City Community Health Center, La Puente/El Monte/Baldwin Park
Chinatown Service Center, Los Angeles
East Valley Community Health Center, Covina
Eisner Health, Sherman Oaks
Garfield Health Center, Monterey Park
Herald Christian Health Center, Rosemead/San Gabriel/City of Industry
KHEIR Clinic, Los Angeles
Los Angeles LGBT Center, Los Angeles
MLK Community Health Foundation, Compton/Los Angeles
Northeast Community Clinic, Los Angeles
Northeast Valley Health Corporation, San Fernando
QueensCare Health Centers, Los Angeles
South Central Family Health Center, Los Angeles
St. John’s Well Child and Family Center, Compton/Los Angeles
T.H.E. Health and Wellness, Los Angeles
The Children’s Clinic, Long Beach
Universal Community Health Center, Los Angeles
Venice Family Clinic, Santa Monica
Mallu Reddy, MD, Pomona
The South Central Family Health Center and St. John’s Well Child and Family Center are each hoping to use their grant funding to hire two new physicians.
Newly recruited physicians to the safety net are eligible for the Provider Loan Repayment Program, another part of Elevating the Safety Net. Under the program, physicians receive loan repayments of up to $5,000 per month for up to 36 months, as long as they continue to work within the safety net. To date, 69 physicians have been approved for loan repayment grants.
For information about the other programs in Elevating the Safety Net, please visit our Elevating the Safety Net web page.
About L.A. Care Health Plan
L.A. Care Health Plan serves more than 2.2 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.