DURHAM, N.C. – Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (Blue Cross NC) announced today that it is investing $1 million in Fayetteville State University’s (FSU) 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.
FSU will use the investment for scholarships to address access to care and nursing shortages, educational technology, and to improve quality of care.
“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 Fayetteville State University 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.
“Fayetteville State University is both honored and pleased to receive this important investment from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina,” said FSU Chancellor James A. Anderson. “FSU’s nationally ranked School of Nursing will be able to expand its service offerings, update equipment, and provide scholarship support for nursing students. With a state and national shortage of highly trained nurses it is imperative that nursing programs in North Carolina seek to address this critical problem. The Blue Cross NC gift will facilitate program expansion in the FSU School of Nursing.”
The Fayetteville State University School of Nursing provides traditional students and nursing professionals (Associate Degreed Nurses, Registered Nurses) with the skills and clinical experiences they will need to be successful in a diverse and ever-changing society. FSU’s nursing program is ranked number two in the eastern United States based on quality, affordability, value, satisfaction and convenience. It is a top-seven North Carolina RN to BSN program, and its students enjoy 100 percent job placement success after graduation.
The $1 million will be invested into the following areas:
· Scholarships and Access to Care
o There is a significant need for scholarships and financial aid, especially to students from poor, rural areas. FSU plans to use funding to increase the number of rural area graduates from 205 in 2017 to at least 280 in 2022.
o Similar to all of FSU, the majority of the School’s students are first-generation students. FSU will use a portion of this funding to increase the number of first-generation students pursuing a Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing (BSN).
o FSU will also increase their partnership with community college systems located in rural and underserved areas of North Carolina, and increase the number of nurses with a BSN in rural areas of North Carolina. Nurses from rural counties who earn BSNs are twice as likely as those from more urban counties to practice in rural areas. Additionally, patients who receive 80 percent or more of their care from nurses with baccalaureate educations have 18.7 percent lower odds of readmission than patients treated by nurses without degrees.
· Educational Technology
o FSU will use a portion of the funding to ensure the school’s simulation-laboratory experience remains one of the most impactful and leading-edge clinical training experiences in North Carolina.
· Improve Quality of Care
o FSU plans to significantly improve patient health outcomes through interprofessional collaboration, and aid partners in reducing readmission rates by 18 percent. Patients receiving 80 percent or more of their care from nurses with a BSN are nearly 20 percent less likely to be readmitted, versus those treated by nurses without a BSN.
About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina improves the health and well-being of our customers and communities through innovative health care products, insurance, services and information to more than 3.8 million members, including approximately 1 million served on behalf of other Blue Cross and/or Blue Shield plans. Since 1933, we have worked to make North Carolina a better place to live through our support of community organizations, programs and events that promote good health. Blue Cross NC is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Visit Blue Cross NC online at bcbsnc.com. All other marks are the property of their respective owners.
About Fayetteville State University
Fayetteville State University is a constituent institution of The University of North Carolina and the second-oldest public institution of higher education in the state, having been founded in 1867. FSU offers degrees at the baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral levels. With more than 6,200 students, Fayetteville State University is among the most diverse institutions in the nation. Chancellor James A. Anderson is the 11th chief executive officer.