UnitedHealthcare Awards $250,000 Grant To HHSC Primary Care Training Program To Enhance Primary Care Services On The Big Island

August 19, 2013
  • Grant supports residency program that provides primary care for rural Hawaii residents and helps train next generation of physicians in Hawaii

UnitedHealthcare, a UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH) company, has awarded a $250,000 grant to support Hilo Medical Center's Hawaii Health Systems Corporation Primary Care Training Program (HHSC PCTP) to help enhance primary care services for East Hawaii residents, including members of the United States military and their families.

The grant will help provide funding to establish Hilo Medical Center's HHSC PCTP where family medicine residents will train at the Hawaii Island Family Health Center and provide valuable primary care services to local children, adults and families.

This unique, interdisciplinary program is in collaboration with University of Hawaii at Hilo's School of Nursing, The Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy, the University of Hawaii at Manoa's School of Nursing and Dental Hygiene, and the University of Hawaii at Manoa's John A. Burns School of Medicine's Department of Psychiatry. The program was conceived as a way to increase access to quality primary care while training the next generation of physicians in Hawaii.

"Hawaii faces a dire shortage of physicians, so we are honored to have the opportunity to work with Hilo Medical Center's HHSC PCTP to help fill that need," said Ronald Fujimoto, M.D., chief medical officer, UnitedHealthcare of Hawaii.

The grant announcement and check presentation was made at the Hawaii Island Family Health Center in Hilo during a reception that included Gov. Neil Abercrombie, UnitedHealth Group leaders including Executive Vice President Anthony Welters, and community leaders.

"The collaboration among the Hawaii Health Systems Corporation Primary Care Training Program, Hilo Medical Center and its educational partners provides critical care for our local residents and families on the Big Island," Gov. Abercrombie said. "The UnitedHealthcare grant is part of a public and private partnership that will greatly improve our local health care system, especially in rural, underserved areas."

According to the "Hawai'i Physician Workforce Assessment Project" report, the Big Island saw a 34 percent physician shortage in 2012 – the estimated number of physician care hours compared to the hours of care in demand. Statewide, the shortage was 18 percent. The report concluded the physician shortages were especially acute in the area of primary care, making Hilo Medical Center's HHSC PCTP an important asset for Hawaii's health and well-being.

"We truly appreciate UnitedHealthcare's funding of this grant to support our primary care training program.  This is a tremendous shot in the arm in helping establish this vital program for our community.  In time we hope these physicians will remain on the Big Island and throughout Hawaii," said Howard Ainsley, East Hawaii Regional CEO at Hilo Medical Center.

UnitedHealthcare, a UnitedHealth Group (NYSE:UNH) company, has more than 200 employees located on Oahu, Kauai, Maui and the Big Island with central offices in Honolulu. With a care provider network of 21 hospitals and more than 2,700 physicians statewide, the health and well-being company serves more than 230,000 Hawaii residents including members of the United States military and their families, and people enrolled in UnitedHealthcare's Medicare and Medicaid health plans.

About UnitedHealthcare
UnitedHealthcare is dedicated to helping people nationwide live healthier lives by simplifying the health care experience, meeting consumer health and wellness needs, and sustaining trusted relationships with care providers. The company offers the full spectrum of health benefit programs for individuals, employers and Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, and contracts directly with 780,000 physicians and care professionals and 5,900 hospitals and other care facilities nationwide. UnitedHealthcare serves more than 40 million people in health benefits and is one of the businesses of UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH), a diversified Fortune 50 health and well-being company.

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