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Medically Underserved Communities Get the Focus They Deserve

Villapudua Introduces Pair of Bills to Bring Health Care into more Communities

For immediate release:

SACRAMENTO – Assemblymember Carlos Villapudua (D-Stockton) has introduced AB 2123 and AB 2132 in an effort to bolster California’s health care workforce and increase access to care in historically underserved communities.

“While California has made massive strides over the past decade to provide health care coverage to our residents, significant gaps remain in ensuring people have access to timely and convenient care within the communities they live in,” said Assemblymember Villapudua. “AB 2123 and AB 2132 will serve to strengthen our health care workforce in historically underserved communities so that they can get the care they need at the time they need it.”

The Bringing Healthcare into Communities Act, AB 2123, will increase the number of medical professionals in federally designated California Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSA) by offering five years of mortgage relief to the professionals who practice and live in these areas.

The “Grow Your Own” Physician Pipeline, AB 2132, will create a pilot program to provide scholarships and navigator support to students in rural/underserved communities from undergrad through medical school. Following the completion of their residency programs, these students will continue to provide care in a medically underserved community for a specified period of time.

“California’s severe and growing shortage of physicians means patients will wait longer for office visits, travel greater distances to see a doctor and become so discouraged that they seek medical care only when emergency treatment becomes necessary,” said California Medical Association President Robert E. Wailes, M.D.  “AB 2132 will help California bring more diversity and grow our health care workforce especially in high-need, underserved areas of the state, and we appreciate Assemblymember Villapudua’s leadership on this important measure.”

In 2020, California led the nation in federally designated HPSAs. This continues to threaten the wellbeing of too many communities across our state as we aim to expand access to quality and efficient health care to every Californian.