Research Communications

MEDTAPP Healthcare Access Initiative funding prepares healthcare professionals to serve Ohio’s Medicaid population 

ATHENS, Ohio (March 20, 2013)—Ohio University’s Health Sciences Center was awarded $813,930 in Medicaid Technical Assistance and Policy Program (MEDTAPP) funds secured by the Ohio Office of Medical Assistance/Ohio Medicaid to support  several projects designed to recruit, train and retain healthcare professionals to better serve the needs of Ohio’s Medicaid population.

Ohio University was one of three institutions in Ohio to receive funding through the Office of Medical Assistance/Ohio Medicaid in Phase 1-Round 2 of the MEDTAPP Healthcare Access (HCA) Initiative.

The projects, managed by faculty and staff in the Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine and College of Health Sciences and Professions (both part of the Health Sciences Center), support training in the areas of nursing, primary care, integrated mind-body care and interdisciplinary health care work. The following activities are currently funded under the MEDTAPP Healthcare Access Initiative:

•    The Interprofessional Health Teams Initiative supports 56 students in six disciplines (medicine, nursing, nutrition, physical therapy, speech-language pathology and social work) who are participating in a curriculum that promotes team-based medical care. The content modules, as well as much of the team interactions, are performed virtually. Students will be able to apply these skills via experiential learning at two separate Laurels Healthcare sites. The project stems from combined efforts of an Ohio University 1804 Fund award to John McCarthy of the College of Health Sciences and Professions and the Clinical Integration Committee, chaired by Jeffrey DiGiovanni, whose membership comprises faculty from the College of Health Sciences and Professions and the Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine.

•    The Integrated Mind-Body Medicine Program is a specialized residency training program that focuses on mind-body health in primary care. The training is designed to enhance a healthcare provider’s capacity to deal with chronic stress, in an effort to improve job satisfaction and the retention of physicians serving rural, Medicaid and low-income residents. The program is led by Joseph Bianco and physician Tracy Marx, D.O., of the Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine.

•    The MEDTAPP Scholars program is designed to recruit and retain primary care practitioners to care for those on Medicaid in underserved rural Appalachia, as well as to establish practices that serve as training sites for future physicians and nurse practitioner students.  The program will focus on practitioners new to practice, just out of residency or new to practicing in a Medicaid-rich rural underserved area in Appalachian Ohio. Training sites will include several local nursing homes, an Express Care clinic and Appalachian Behavioral Health, an area psychiatric hospital. The program is led by physician Tracy Marx, D.O., of the Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine.

•    The Primary Care Scholarship Program incentivizes fourth-year medical students in the Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine to choose residencies in primary care in high-need Medicaid areas. The program, which provides 12 tuition stipends of $15,000, intends to increase the number of students choosing primary care to serve the Ohio Medicaid population. Primary care is often not an attractive choice financially for students who have a heavy debt load upon graduating from medical school, said project leader Sharon Zimmerman of the university’s Health Sciences Center. The Osteopathic Heritage Foundation provides match funding for this program. Upon graduation, these selected students will spend a minimum of one year practicing at a high-volume Medicaid site in Ohio.

The following project is participating in the MEDTAPP Healthcare Access Initiative, but is not using MEDTAPP funding to support related activities:

•    The FNP + DNP = 1 + 1 Year Residency Program links master’s prepared nurse practitioners to a Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP) residency through employment and training at Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) and rural health clinics. The project is managed by Teresa Julian in the School of Nursing at the College of Health Sciences and Professions.

Northeast Ohio Medical University and Cleveland State University also received funding during the recent round of MEDTAPP HCA funding. These three newly funded institutions’ projects will foster training of approximately 500 additional medical professionals to better serve the Medicaid population.

Andrea Gibson, director of research communications, (740) 597-2166,