Scholarships to bring medical providers to eastern Kentucky

(AP)

HAZARD, Ky. (AP) — A Medicaid managed-care provider will donate $180,000 to fund University of Kentucky scholarships aimed at bringing more doctors and nurses to the state’s eastern region.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports WellCare of Kentucky announced two new programs on Monday designed to bolster the number of primary care and psychiatry professionals in Hazard. Rural eastern Kentucky communities have struggled to attract an adequate number of providers in those fields.

Physicians for the Commonwealth will give 20 one-year scholarships worth $5,000 each to incoming medical students interested in the Rural Physician Leadership program, which offers two years of clinical experience to an underserved population. The other program will provide $80,000 for 10 scholarships in the university’s Doctorate in Nursing Practice Program for nurses planning to practice in rural Kentucky.

The company says it will work with the medical and nursing schools at the University of Kentucky.

“We know that access to doctors, nurses and other health care providers directly affects health outcomes,” said Bill Jones, president of WellCare of Kentucky. “When health care is in short supply or located far away, people are less likely to get routine screenings, tests and vaccinations — the type of care that can catch problems early or even prevent illness altogether.”

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