O.C. First 5 Tries Loan-Assistance Effort for Pediatric Specialists
Orange County's First 5 commission has announced plans to offer $125,000 in medical education loan forgiveness to pediatric specialists who move to the county to practice, Payers & Providers reports.
The Children and Families Commission of Orange County is the local affiliate of California's First 5 Commission, which helps fund early childhood health care and education programs in the state.
Sherry Novick, executive director of the First 5 Association of California, said other county First 5 commissions will closely monitor the Orange County effort because no other First 5 program has undertaken a loan-forgiveness program.
Shortage of Specialists
Like many other regions of California, Orange County currently is facing a severe shortage of pediatric specialists.
A recent survey by the county's Medi-Cal managed care plan CalOptima found that 92% of pediatric patients obtained specialist referrals within 30 days, compared with 100% of patients who accessed primary and urgent care within that time frame. Medi-Cal is California's Medicaid program.
In response to the county's shortage of pediatric specialists, the local First 5 branch developed the loan forgiveness initiative. The program will offer more than six times the amount of debt help that state programs provide.Officials say the program is scheduled to begin next month (Payers & Providers, 12/10). This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.