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UnitedHealthcare Awards $250,000 to the Primary Care Training Program

Big check is handed to recipient from UnitedHealthcareUnitedHealthcare awarded a $250,000 grant to support the Hawaii Health Systems Corporation Primary Care Training Program to help enhance primary care services for East Hawaii residents, including members of the United States military and their families.

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

The grant announcement and check presentation were made today 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 delivered 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 HHSCPCTP 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.