CMA-sponsored bill to expedite physician licensure for practice in underserved areas passes legislature

August 26, 2013

A bill sponsored by the California Medical Association (CMA) (AB 1288) has passed out of the legislature and is headed to Governor Brown’s desk. The bill will require the Medical Board of California and the Osteopathic Medical Board of California to give priority review status to the applications of physicians who can demonstrate that they intend to practice in a medically underserved area or serve a medically underserved population.

“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 will not change the vigorous standards of the Medical Practice Act but will instead focus the boards’ resources on the areas and populations with the greatest need.

“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 provides support physicians who practice in rural or underserved parts of the state.

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