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Higher Education Committee green lights Bains’ med school proposal

For immediate release:

(Sacramento, CA) April 10, 2024 - Dr. Jasmeet Bains’ (D-Delano) legislation to bring a University of California medical school campus to Kern County passed out of the Assembly Higher Education committee on Tuesday with bipartisan support.

“A medical school is exactly the prescription that will not only provide jobs but also improve the healthcare access and create an opportunity for aspiring physicians and nurses to practice where they have roots in the community,” Dr. Bains said.

The bill, AB 2357, creates an endowment in the California State Treasury that would allow funding sources to contribute to the medical school's initial and ongoing funding. Once the funding requirements are met, the bill also requires the University of California to build the medical school.

The San Joaquin Valley is among California’s most medically underserved areas and lacks an adequate physician population per capita. In 2021, the California Health Care Foundation reported that the San Joaquin Valley had just 47 primary care physicians per 100,000 residents, short of the US Department of Health and Human Services’ recommended supply ratio of 60-80 per 100,000 and the state average of 60 per 100,000.

The University of California, in their report to the Legislature, titled ‘Improving Health Care Access in the San Joaquin Valley,’ states that the Valley is one of the fastest-growing, poorest, and least-healthy regions of California. The eight Valley counties – Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, Merced, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, and Tulare suffer from some of the poorest air quality and highest rates of poverty and uninsured in the nation. Of the more than 4 million people who call the Valley home, 41% are covered by Medi-Cal including a staggering 70% of children living in Kern County. Valley counties consistently rank at the bottom for health outcomes compared to other parts of California.

In a letter of support from California Life Sciences wrote, “America is currently experiencing a shortage of primary care physicians. The American Medical Association estimates that over 83 million Americans currently live in areas with insufficient access to primary care physicians.”

California Life Sciences represents over 1,200 entities representing pharmaceutical, biotechnology, medical technology, and academic research institutions throughout California

The Assembly Appropriations Committee will next consider the bill.

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