Published on: Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Calif. governor OKs med student scholarships

 
 

SACRAMENTO, Calif., Sept. 18 (LID)–California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) on Monday signed legislation aimed at boosting the ranks of primary care physicians in the Golden State.

Brown

Assembly Bill 589 will establish the Steven M. Thompson Medical School Scholarship Program (STMSSP) for qualified medical students in the state who pursue primary care practice. The STMSSP fund is to be housed within the Health Professions Education Foundation.

This program would provide up to $105,000 in scholarships to selected participants who agree to serve a minimum of 3 years in either federally designated medically underserved areas or areas of the state the California Healthcare Workforce Policy Commission has designated as having unmet priority needs.

State Assemblyman Henry Perea (D-Fresno) introduced the measure, which handily cleared both the Assembly and Senate with wide bipartisan support.

The California Medical Association (CMA) praised Brown for signing the measure, codified at Section 128560 of the California Health and Safety Code.

“On behalf of all future physicians, CMA thanks Assemblymember Perea, the bill’s author, and Governor Brown for signing this important legislation into law,” said CMA President Dr. James Hay. “California will soon have millions of newly insured patients with the implementation of health reform, and ensuring that there are enough physicians working where those patients are is crucial to those patients getting treated.”

Of California’s 58 counties, 42 are below the federal standard for primary care physician supply, and 48 have at least one region designated as a Health Professional Shortage Area. The state has 200 distinct areas in California federally designated as medically underserved, the CMA noted in a statement.

“A.B. 589 will provide the impetus for more students to attend medical school, and increase the number of available physicians practicing in the most underserved areas. Medical education debt can be a daunting deterrent for students,” Hay said. “This bill makes it possible for many more young adults interested in pursuing medicine to do so.”

For More Information: The text of A.B. 589, as chaptered, is available on the Legislature’s web portal, here.

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