Governor signs CMA-sponsored bill to expedite physician licensure for practice in underserved areas

September 10, 2013

Governor Jerry Brown has signed a bill (AB 1288) sponsored by the California Medical Association (CMA) that requires priority review status be given to the license applications of physicians who can demonstrate that they intend to practice in a medically-underserved area or serve a medically-underserved population.

With California facing an uneven disbursement of physicians, increasing the physician pipeline to those areas to ensure delivery of safe, quality medical care will be crucial to the health of those communities.

“We need more physicians in rural and underserved areas of California,” said Paul R. Phinney, M.D., CMA president. “Assembly Bill 1288 will expedite relief to parts of the state suffering from uneven physician distribution, more quickly bringing highly-trained and educated medical professionals to areas where they can efficiently and effectively treat patients and lead integrated health care teams.”

AB 1288 (V. Manuel Perez – Riverside) will not change the vigorous standards of the Medical Practice Act but will instead focus resources on the areas and populations with the greatest need. The new license processing requirements will apply to both the Medical Board of California and the Osteopathic Board of California.

“CMA has a continued commitment to address the physician distribution problem, and legislation like AB 1288 is a step in the right direction,” added Dr. Phinney. “The leadership of members like Assemblymember V.M. Perez is what we need to put more physicians in the pipeline of underserved communities like Riverside and Imperial Counties, while upholding the integrity of the medical profession; providing safe, quality care to patients who need it the most.”

CMA has long advocated for programs, such as the Steven M. Thompson Loan Repayment Program, that provide support physicians who practice in rural or underserved parts of the state.

Thank you to all of our legislative key contacts who took the time to contact the governor. Your advocacy was key in getting AB 1288 signed into law.


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