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Governor Brown Signs Bonilla Bill to Create New Pathway for More Physicians in California

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SACRAMENTO – Assemblywoman Bonilla’s AB 1838, which allows graduates of accelerated and fully accredited medical education programs to become licensed physicians in California, was signed into law today by Governor Brown.  This bill will allow more physicians to practice in California and help doctors incur less student debt. 

“Currently California faces an extreme shortage of trained medical residents and physicians,” said Assemblywoman Susan A. Bonilla (D-Concord).  “AB 1838 is an innovative step towards addressing this problem and meeting the needs of our communities, without diminishing the quality of patient care.”

Accelerated programs differ from traditional programs as they focus on the individuals’ skills and academic achievements, as opposed to the length of time they are in school.  Accelerated programs do not replace current programs, they are offered as a separate track.  Only students who have demonstrated a high level of scientific and medical understanding are eligible for the accelerated track.

This bill, which is co-sponsored by the Medical Board of California and the University of California, will be effective January, 2015.

“The Medical Board of California is pleased that Governor Brown signed AB 1838 into law,” said Executive Director, Kimberly Kirchmeyer.  “This bill will help meet the needs of applicants applying for licensure, who have graduated from accelerated medical school programs, and will also assist in reducing student debt.  The passage of the bill will further the Medical Board’s mission of promoting access to care while continuing to protect consumers.”   

“We want to thank Assemblymember Susan A. Bonilla and the Medical Board of California for their leadership on this important and timely legislation,” said Dr. Cathryn Nation, UC Associate Vice President, Health Sciences.  “UC is proud that its School of Medicine at Davis, in partnership with Kaiser Permanente, developed the first accelerated medical education program in California, enrolling its first class of six students in June 2014.  Now, future graduates from not only this primary-care focused program – but also other accelerated programs – will have a clear path to medical practice in California.”

Assemblywoman Bonilla’s legislation, AB 1838, is also expected to enable California’s graduate medical education or residency training programs to recruit graduates of accelerated medical education programs operated by other accredited medical schools to complete their specialty training, become licensed, and enter practice in the state.  Not only do accelerated programs address the clear need for more physicians while reducing student debt, they do so without affecting the quality of healthcare that patients deserve.

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