UA gets nearly $1M
to aid nurse training

The federal government last week announced it would give a grant of nearly $1 million to the University of Arizona to strengthen training for nurses.

The money was part of $55.5 million in funding announced Dec. 5 by U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius  that will go toward increasing the size of the nation’s health-care workforce.

The UA grant will go to a program that provides low- interest loans to nurses to train to become faculty, and then loan cancellation for service as a faculty member.

More than 270 grants are aimed at health workforce needs in nursing, public health, behavioral health, health workforce development and dentistry. The grants are managed by the Health Resources and Services Administration. A majority of the funding will support nursing workforce development.

UA health chief, others decry cuts in Medicaid

University of Arizona Health Network President and CEO Dr. Michael Waldrum is one of 102 leaders from more than 250 hospitals and health systems who have written a letter to congressional leaders asking them to stop what they call “arbitrary” cuts to Medicaid.

At issue are what’s known as “disproportionate share funds” provided by Medicaid to so-called safety- net hospitals, also known as hospitals of last resort, which have a disproportionately high number of indigent patients.

The cuts to disproportionate share funds were mandated by the federal Affordable Care Act.

The UA Health Network includes two Tucson hospitals.

“Nationwide, hospitals provide more than $40 billion in uncompensated and under-compensated care each year,” the Dec. 2 letter states. “Medicaid DSH (disproportionate share) is a lifeline of support that helps to offset some of that cost.”

The law calls for the cuts because more Americans are expected to have both insurance and Medicaid, thus reducing uncompensated care.

But hospital leaders say the cuts are “crippling” and could result in job cuts.

Other executives who signed the letter include Rona Curphy, president and  CEO of the Casa Grande Medical Center, and Stephen A. Purves, president and chief executive officer of the Maricopa Integrated Health System.

Program to examine ‘Virtual Feeling Arts’

The University of Arizona College of Nursing and the Arizona Center on Aging are offering a multimedia presentation and discussion about expressive arts, healing and the end-of-life experience, with special guests from the Feeling Arts Academy in Japan.

The program is from 5:30 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday in Room 105 at the UA College of Nursing. The event is free and open to the public.

The presentation, “Art of Healing: Development of the Virtual Feeling Arts System and Application to a Hospice Care Program,” is part of a study of progressive hospice programs and holistic palliative care.

For more information, contact Marilyn Gilbert at the Arizona Center on Aging at 270-2440  or 

Compiled by Stephanie Innes and Caitlin Schmidt. Contact the reporters at