Premera Blue Cross invests $10.5 million in rural health care
SPOKANE, Wash. — Premera Blue Cross announced a major investment in rural health care access in eastern Washington on Wednesday.
The investment is $10.5 million, and will be awarded in grants over the next four years to Washington State University Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine and Empire Health Foundation.
“Premera is proud to support Washington State University and Empire Health Foundation in their efforts to deliver health care to remote and medically underserved communities in our state,” said Jeff Roe, President and CEO of Premera Blue Cross. “With the growing disparity between urban and rural health care access, it is critical to invest in effective, long-term solutions like rural medical residency programs and more integrated services that will help close this gap.”
A study conducted by the National Rural Health Association reported that people living in rural areas are often sicker, poorer, and older than people living in cities. Additionally, they face higher rates of premature death, disability and chronic disease.
The grants awarded to the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine will support the family medicine residency program at Pullman Regional Hospital, and will establish new sites for similar programs in eastern Washington.
The grants awarded to Empire Health Foundation will become subgrants for the region. “Empire Health Foundation believes whether you live in a rural or urban community, health care is a fundamental right,” said Jeffrey Bell, board chair of Empire Health Foundation.
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