NCCU Nursing Students and Chancellor Johnson O. Akinleye

Investment will be used to address access to care and nursing shortages, educational resources and technology

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (Blue Cross NC) will invest $1 million in North Carolina Central University's (NCCU) nursing program. The investment is part of Blue Cross NC's commitment to contribute $50 million toward community health initiatives in 2018. The investment is partially funded through $40 million in tax savings generated through the recently passed Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

NCCU will use the investment for scholarships to address access to care and nursing shortages, educational resources and technology.

"As a practicing physician, I've seen firsthand the central role that nurses play in creating a higher-quality, more affordable health care system," said Dr. Patrick Conway, President and CEO of Blue Cross NC. "We are excited to be able to help NCCU admit and train new nurses, especially from rural North Carolina. To bring costs down and increase quality, we have to think more broadly about what it means to invest in health - this is a great example of that principle in action."

According to a recent study by Georgetown University, North Carolina is projected to have the second-largest shortage of nurses in the nation - a deficit of 12,900 nurses. The shortage is especially challenging in rural North Carolina. The state's metropolitan areas have 32 more nurses for every 10,000 people than rural counties. Seventy of North Carolina's 80 rural counties are classified as "medical deserts" due to their lack of primary care. Additionally, nurses play a central role in increasing the value of health care, both in terms of improved outcomes and lower costs.

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Originally posted March 16, 2018.

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