Excellus BlueCross BlueShield has granted a sponsorship to the Finger Lakes Health Tuition Buy Back program. The Tuition Buy Back program provides eligible FLH employees in job categories including Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs), Registered Nurses (RNs to BSNs) and Medical Technologists with assistance in repaying student loan debt.
America is in the middle of a critical nursing shortage, due to several factors including more nurses and nurse educators reaching retirement age; an aging patient population requiring more care; and staff burnout. These issues have been significantly exacerbated by the pandemic, and hospitals around the country have been forced to hire extra temporary staff, mostly in the form of traveling nurses, who are paid almost double normal rates. Some existing hospital staff choose to become travelers, leading to additional recruitment and retention issues.
These challenges were the catalyst for the implementation of the Tuition Buy Back program, in late 2020. The program is designed to reduce turnover and vacancy rates of vital healthcare employees in key positions to staff more beds and therefore, serve more patients. FLH’s service areas are predominantly rural, low socioeconomic and it is imperative that patients and residents from these areas receive local access to the same high-quality healthcare services that are available in larger cities. The program also offers an opportunity for professional mobility and financial security for the recipients, particularly those in our community who otherwise may not have the financial resources to pursue these positions.
“At Excellus BCBS our mission is to help people in our communities lead healthier more secure lives through access to high quality affordable healthcare,” says Gina Cuyler, MD FACP, Vice President Health Equity and Community Investments for Excellus BCBS. “Access to care is critical and having qualified healthcare providers is an essential part of access. The barriers that keep people from achieving optimal health can only be overcome with the help and support of the medical community. The Tuition Buy Back program helps our community members have continued access to healthcare. We are proud to sponsor this program that ultimately provides support to our community members and helps us fulfill our mission.”
Twenty-five FLH employees are currently active in the Tuition Buy Back program. Chad Hoffman-Fragale, VP of Human Resources at Finger Lakes Health, leads the program and is pleased with its success. He says, “The Tuition Buy Back program has been instrumental in assisting us with the recruitment and retention of RNs, LPNs, and Medical Technologists, as some of them are now able to afford to continue their education, knowing that we are helping them with the student loan debt they incurred to work in their current roles.”
Hoffman-Fragale adds, “Finger Lakes Health takes pride in assisting community members with developing their careers, while they care for those in their community. We appreciate Excellus BlueCross BlueShield’s acknowledgment of and support for these efforts through the awarded sponsorship.”
For more information about the Tuition Buy Back program and current career opportunities at Finger Lakes Health, contact Human Resources: 315-787-4039. To make a donation in support of the program click HERE and add a note in the comment section that the gift is for the ‘Tuition Buy Back program.’