Kaiser Permanente Contributes Additional $200,000 to Scholarship and Loan Forgiveness Program

California is in the midst of a serious nurse shortage, which, if left unchecked, will result in nothing short of a public health crisis. According to the California Healthcare Association, California only has some 275,000 RNs with active licenses. The state Employment Development Department (EDD) projects by 2010 California will face a shortfall of nearly 110,000 registered nurses (RNs) and just over 25,000 licensed vocational nurses (LVNs).

Rising to the challenge, Kaiser Permanente has provided an additional $200,000 for the CSUSM-Kaiser Permanente Scholarship and Loan Forgiveness Program. This is Kaiser's second gift; in April of 2008 the health care organization contributed $500,000 to establish the program.

As one of the largest employers of nurses in California, Kaiser Permanente's support to build California's nursing workforce exceeds $4 million annually for Nursing Pathways, career ladder programs, nursing scholarships, grants to colleges, and forgivable loans. 

"It is one of the many innovative initiatives we have implemented to address the California nursing shortage, which is in a huge crisis," said Judy Husted, RN, MS, Kaiser Foundation Hospital's executive director of Patient Care Services, Operations, Southern California. "Our support of both BSN and second degree candidates gives us the opportunity to assist students who are committed to the nursing profession.  We are proud of the unique partnership we have established with Cal State San Marcos," she added.  

CSUSM nursing students will be eligible to apply for $5,000 per semester, up to a total of $20,000.  The loan forgiveness program will mean that students who graduate and go on to work in an acute care Kaiser Permanente hospital facility will not have to pay back their loans. 

"We are very grateful to Kaiser for their ongoing support of our nursing students.  This additional scholarship money will ease the financial burden for an additional 10 students," stated Judy Papenhausen, director of the School of Nursing.

In 2008, the three-year-old School of Nursing had their initial accreditation visit by the Commission of Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), an autonomous accrediting agency that ensures the quality and integrity of baccalaureate and graduate nursing programs nationwide.  Initial accreditation status is anticipated pending CCNE board approval in March 2009.  The report visit noted no areas of concern.  This spring, the school will graduate its first classes of nursing cohorts.  One hundred twenty graduates will walk in the ceremony in May.

Kaiser Permanente is America's leading integrated health plan. Founded in 1945, it is a nonprofit, group practice prepayment program with Southern California headquarters in Pasadena, California.  Kaiser Permanente serves the health care needs of 3.3 million members in Southern California. Today it encompasses the nonprofit Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc., Kaiser Foundation Hospitals and their subsidiaries, and the for-profit Southern California Permanente Medical Group.  Kaiser Permanente's Southern California Region includes more than 49,919 technical, administrative and clerical employees and caregivers, and more than 6,000 physicians representing all specialties.  More information about Kaiser Permanente can be found at http://www.kaiserpermanente.org/.

For more information on the CSUSM-Kaiser Permanente Scholarship and Loan Forgiveness Program, contact Judy Papenhausen, jpapenha@csusm.edu.

"We are very grateful to Kaiser for their ongoing support of our nursing students.  This additional scholarship money will ease the financial burden for an additional ten students," stated Judy Papenhausen, director of the School of Nursing.