Kraft gives $20M to draw doctors into community

Boston Globe | With a $20 million gift from Robert and Myra Kraft, Partners HealthCare is launching a program to attract doctors and nurses to Massachusetts community health centers, the cornerstone of the push to reduce health costs and care for newly insured patients.

The gift to Partners HealthCare System Inc. will be used to pay off up to $50,000 of the medical school loans of physicians and nurse practitioners, as well as finance fellowships in targeted specialties and for master’s degrees. In return, caregivers must work for two to three years in a health center or other community-based setting to care for needy patients.

Robert Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots, said he intends the donation to serve as seed money that will inspire other philanthropists as well as states to support similar programs to increase the number of internists, family practitioners, pediatricians, psychiatrists, and obstetrician/gynecologists dedicating their careers to community medicine rather than to higher-paying, more glamorous specialties and private practices. Many primary care doctors are now so busy they will not accept new patients.

Kraft said that even as “well-to-do people from the Middle East,’’ for example, fly to Boston for treatment at the city’s elite teaching hospitals, “people living in our own communities aren’t treated properly,’’ either because they don’t have access to care or don’t believe they do.

“We wanted to do something to support everyone getting the kind of health care my family gets,’’ said Kraft, during an interview at Partners’ headquarters in the Prudential Tower last week. “What I worry about in this country are the people who are hurting the most.’’

Over the next five years, Partners chief executive Dr. Gary Gottlieb estimates, the Kraft donation will support more than 100 physicians, nurse practitioners, and other providers caring for about 200,000 patients.


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