State Senator Anthony Cannella (R-Ceres) today introduced SB 131, legislation that would increase funding for the San Joaquin Valley Program in Medical Education (SJV PRIME), an innovative program operated by the University of California that brings more physicians to the region.
"Currently, the San Joaquin Valley is disproportionately affected by California’s physician shortage with access to healthcare 31% lower than the rest of the state and the this will only worsen as the Affordable Care Act continues to expand healthcare insurance," said Cannella. "SB 131 would expand healthcare resources to serve the nearly four million people living in our San Joaquin Valley by training more physicians in our region – and more important – keeping these physicians in our region."
Coauthored by Senator Kathleen Galgiani (D-Manteca), Assembly Leader Kristin Olsen (R-Modesto) and Assemblyman Adam Gray (D-Modesto), SB 131 would provide annual funding from the state’s General Fund to the UC and expand the program to enroll up to 12 student admissions per class and 48 students annually across the four-year curriculum.
"Expanding this program means opening new doctor's offices in the Valley every year," said Gray. "PRIME provides us with an opportunity not only to train more doctors in the Valley, but to establish the medical infrastructure we need to site a medical school at UC Merced."
"Receiving adequate healthcare shouldn’t be based on where you live, and I believe a vibrant community depends on a healthy community. Some areas – including ours – are woefully underserved,” said Cannella. "SB 131 promotes healthcare equity and aims to reduce healthcare provider disparities, which is imperative for ensuring our communities stay physically, economically and fiscally healthy."