L.A. Care Awards $562,500 to Recruit Five New Physicians into the L.A. County Safety Net

Since 2018, the Health Plan Has Funded Grants Totaling $19.4 Million to Recruit 139 Physicians

LOS ANGELES – The U.S. Surgeon General issued an advisory last month sounding an alarm on physician burnout and resignations, saying it threatens to exacerbate the existing physician shortage. The shortage is projected to be nearly 140,000 by 2033. For the past five years, L.A. Care Health Plan has been working to address the growing physician shortage, which disproportionately affects the low-income communities of color the health plan serves. Today, L.A. Care awarded $562,500 to five clinics in its 12th  round of Provider Recruitment Program grants. The funding could bring up to five new physicians into the Los Angeles County safety net, including a psychiatrist and a pediatrician.

The grants are part of Elevating the Safety Net (ESN), a $155 million initiative L.A. Care launched in 2018 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. The initiative is part of L.A. Care’s commitment to advancing health equity for members and their communities.

The COVID-19 pandemic exposed for all to see the health disparities that low-income communities have suffered for years. We cannot sit back and wait for things to get even worse,” said John Baackes, L.A. Care CEO. “Our initiative is making a difference. Since the launch, we have added 139 new physicians who are currently working in the L.A. County safety net.”

L.A. Care has executed about $19.4 million in Provider Recruitment Program grants since launching the initiative.

San Fernando Community Health Center (SFCHC) is one of the five clinics receiving a grant to use to subsidize a salary, offer a sign-on bonus, and/or pay relocation costs to bring a highly-qualified physician into the county safety net.

“San Fernando Community Health Center is deeply appreciative of the support offered by L.A. Care. Making this resource available to SFCHC and other clinics has given us a very essential tool in recruiting new, high-quality providers to Los Angeles,” said Audrey Simons, SFCHC CEO. “The competitive nature of provider recruitment means that clinics need this level of support to attract the caliber of provider needed to care for the most vulnerable in our communities.”

Andre Basmadzhyan, DO, was recruited by the San Fernando Community Health Center thanks to a previous grant.

I am very grateful for the Provider Recruitment Program, which allows Federally Qualified Health Centers in Los Angeles to attract passionate caregivers to work with a population in much need of dedicated care,” said Basmadzhyan, acting Chief Medical Officer. “I feel very fortunate every day that I am able to help these people and make a real difference in their lives.”

This round of awardees are:

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, 144 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.