Gray’s Bill to Attract More Doctors to the Valley Becomes Law
September 22, 2016 - - Assemblymember Adam C. Gray (D-Merced) announced today the signing of Assembly Bill 2048 by Governor Brown to attract and retain more doctors at health centers that serve the most impoverished and disadvantaged populations in the state.
The State Loan Repayment Program provides one million dollars in federal grant funds every year to physicians, dentists, and nurse practitioners in California who agree to practice medicine in health professional shortage areas. Gray’s bill makes federally qualified health centers, like Golden Valley Health Centers and Livingston Community Health, automatically eligible to participate in the program.
“The cumbersome application process and costs associated with this program have stymied participation,” said Gray. “Just one-third of the health centers in the state have been able to jump through the hoops to even be eligible to apply. What that really means is that the clinics most in need of help were getting nothing.”
Gray introduced the bill after learning about the difficulties faced by Livingston Community Health when their doctors applied to participate in the program.
“This is a classic example of government getting in its own way,” said Gray. “Loan forgiveness is a very successful tool to attract doctors to communities most in need of their services, yet we put up so much red tape that we made it impossible to access. With this new law in place, more doctors and nurses will call Merced and Stanislaus counties home.”