A family medicine physician in Jerome has been selected as the beneficiary of the Primary Care Initiative’s (PCI) medical education debt repayment award — the first physician to receive assistance from the PCI’s fundraising efforts.
The Primary Care Initiative, a non-profit foundation that launched in August 2022, was established in partnership with the Idaho College of Osteopathic Medicine and Blue Cross of Idaho. The PCI aims to encourage new doctors to practice in rural and medically-underserved areas of Idaho through scholarships and medical education debt repayments. The first recipient of the PCI’s medical education debt incentive is Dr. Logan Jones, DO.
Dr. Jones serves as a family medicine physician at North Canyon Medical Center’s Jerome clinic. A native of Rigby, Idaho, Dr. Jones completed his undergraduate education at Utah Valley University and attended the Campbell University School of Osteopathic Medicine. Afterward, he completed his graduate medical education through the Idaho State University Family Medicine Residency Program.
North Canyon Medical Center is classified as a Critical Access Hospital. There are currently 1,360 Critical Access Hospitals across the U.S. — 27 of which are in Idaho. As a family medicine physician in North Canyon’s care network, Dr. Jones cares for people of all ages — his youngest patient is a newborn and his oldest is 94-years-old — allowing him to practice the full spectrum of medicine.
“I knew early on that I wanted to pursue rural medicine, simply for the fact that family medicine has a larger need in those areas and it allows you to practice more of your scope of medicine,” said Dr. Jones. “Practicing primary care in a rural setting has been everything I imagined and more. As a physician, you’re very fortunate to be trusted and to be brought into your patients’ lives, especially when they’re at their most vulnerable. It has been extremely rewarding.”
“Dr. Jones represents the heart of the Primary Care Initiative,” added Charlene Maher, Chair of the PCI Board and CEO of Blue Cross of Idaho. “Supporting physicians who practice medicine in communities with limited access to healthcare, and incentivizing more doctors to do the same, will help address Idaho’s chronic physician shortage.”
Through the foundation’s fundraising efforts, PCI made a $100,000 contribution to the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare’s Rural Health Care Access Fund. As a result, Dr. Jones will be provided with $25,000 per year for four years for student loan repayment.
“Each year the Grant Review Board convenes and is honored to award qualifying physicians working in underserved areas of our state,” said Gina Pannell, Bureau Chief of Rural Health and Primary Care at the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare. “Because of the Primary Care Initiative donation, the Board was able to select an additional awardee. We are grateful for this public-private partnership to help address physician shortages in Idaho.”
Idaho and its rural communities face a chronic shortage of physicians. In fact, the Gem State ranks 45th in the nation for the number of primary care physicians per capita, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges’ 2021 State Physician Workforce Data Report.
Both the Idaho College of Osteopathic Medicine and Blue Cross of Idaho have contributed significant seed money to launch the Primary Care Initiative, and the foundation aims to raise $25 million over the next five years in support of its mission.