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Shortage of healthcare workers: $100,000 funds created to help future rural healthcare workers

Published: Aug. 13, 2021 at 6:04 PM EDT
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HAZARD, Ky. (WYMT) - Rural Kentucky communities struggle with a lack of health care providers.

Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield serves these communities insurance, but recognizes the importance ease-of-access to care can have. Friday, they announced a new scholarship at Hazard Community and Technical College to train the next generation of health care workers, and keep them rural.

“To invest in someone’s life, that they then will give of their life in service to others, is what it’s all about,” said Anthem Medicaid President, Leon Lamoreaux.

Lamoreaux was in Hazard to deliver the ceremonial check for The Anthem Rural Medicine Scholarship. This endowment will provide scholarship funds for several students each year who are studying health sciences, with an understanding that when those studies are complete, they will work in underserved communities.

According to the Kentucky Center for Statistics, Eastern Kentucky health facilities will need nearly 2,000 nursing jobs by 2024.

Hazard student Kimberly Caldwell, of Leslie County, plans to become a nurse thanks to this scholarship.

“I’m very excited to be selected for this scholarship,” she said. “It’s exciting to get help when you’re trying to go to school and I’m a non-traditional student.”

Kentucky hospitals are experiencing up to a 40 percent vacancy rate of nursing positions, and those rates are highest in rural areas.

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