A bill to expedite licensing for doctors seeking to serve medically underserved populations has moved forward, according to a press release from state Assemblyman V. Manuel Pérez’s Office.
Pérez, D-Coachella, reported Tuesday that his bill, “Priority Licensing for Medically Underserved Populations,” AB 1288, passed the Assembly Committee on Business, Professions, and Consumer Protection, garnering bipartisan support with a vote of 12-1.
AB 1288 would require the Medical Board of California to develop a process to give ‘priority review’ status to an applicant who can demonstrate that he or she intends to practice in a medically underserved area or serve a medically underserved population. The bill will not change the rigorous standards of the Medical Practice Act, but will instead focus the Board’s resources on the areas and populations with the greatest need.
According to the California HealthCare Foundation, the number of primary care physicians actively practicing in California is at the very bottom range of the state’s need, based on estimates by the Council on Graduate Medical Education. Currently, just 16 of California’s 58 counties have the federal government’s recommended supply of primary care physicians, according to the press release.
Rural counties suffer in particular from low physician practice rates and from a diminishing supply of primary care physicians.
The bill next heads to Assembly Committee on Appropriations. To read the text of the bill, please visit the state’s legislative information website.