Anthem Medicaid creates scholarship to grow healthcare workforce in rural Kentucky

By Hayley Robb, Building Kentucky

Driven by a commitment to improve healthcare in rural areas of Kentucky, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield has created a new scholarship opportunity at Hazard Community and Technical College.

The Anthem Rural Medicine Scholarship (ARMS) will increase the healthcare workforce in rural areas across eastern Kentucky. Full-time students wishing to pursue a career in healthcare will benefit from the scholarship.

Expanding access in Kentucky’s rural communities

Thousands of rural Kentuckians receive care in a less timely fashion than those living in urban areas, lack access to locally available healthcare services and even face long-distance travel to reach a hospital or to access medical specialty care.

In response, Anthem and Hazard Community and Technical College have joined forces to help care for patients residing in rural areas where services and resources may be limited.

“This scholarship was established to remove financial barriers and allow students to focus on reaching their education and career goals creating a straight path to success, and to encourage students to seek healthcare positions that focus on rural areas. Anthem continues to invest and work with our community partners to find innovative solutions that bring more providers to eastern Kentucky to practice in traditionally underserved and non-urban areas. We are grateful to work with Hazard Community and Technical College to deliver on our mission of improving lives and communities and most importantly, strengthening our healthcare workforce in rural areas.”  

Leon Lamoreaux, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield’s Medicaid President in Kentucky.

Currently, Kentucky hospitals are experiencing a 10 to 40% vacancy rate of nursing positions, with rates highest in rural areas. According to the Kentucky Center for Statistics, eastern Kentucky health facilities will need nearly 2,000 nursing jobs including RNs, CNAs, LPNs and CMAs by 2024. To meet these urgent needs, education and training must start now.

“The Anthem Rural Medicine Scholarship allows us to continue to provide quality healthcare education and meet the needs of local employers by opening doors to students who might not otherwise be able to access a healthcare training program due to cost. Healthcare programs are expensive. Anytime a student can obtain scholarship assistance like the one Anthem has established, it eases that financial burden and increases their chances of success.”

Dr. Jennifer Lindon, President of Hazard Community and Technical College

About the scholarships

In its first year, the newly established Anthem Rural Medicine Scholarship will provide two scholarships to eligible students studying in the school of Allied Health. Leslie County native, Kimberly Caldwell, and Perry County native, April Grigsby have been selected as the first two scholarship recipients. 

Through Anthem’s commitment with Hazard Community and Technical College, primary care access will be created for more than 1,000 Medicaid members per year per student.

“This scholarship will allow me to work toward my dreams to become a nurse, without having to worry about the financial burden that can come with getting an education,” said Kimberly Caldwell. “I’m grateful to have been afforded this opportunity.”

For April Grigsby, the chance to make a positive impact in a high-demand field is motivating.

“I’m really looking forward to starting the first semester of my nursing studies and receiving this scholarship makes getting started easier,” she said. “Knowing there is a tremendous need for nurses and healthcare workers in this part of the state makes me excited and ready to get to work.”

About Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Kentucky

Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Kentucky serves more than 163,500 Medicaid members across the state – 42% of which live in a rural area. Anthem serves nearly 40,000 Medicaid members in eastern Kentucky with roughly 18% of them residing in a rural area.

Additional information about Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Kentucky is available at anthem.com.

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