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Assembly Passage of Bill That Would Bring Doctors to Underserved Communities Applauded by Health and Social Justice Leaders

Wednesday, June 30, 2010 General News J E 4
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SACRAMENTO, Calif., June 29 The following is being issued by Doctors for All:

Citing a federal government estimate that more than 3 million Californians cannot find doctors who will provide them essential medical care, health care and social justice advocates challenge the Senate to show the same level of compassion and leadership demonstrated by yesterday's passage of SB 726 (Ashburn) on the Assembly Floor.

"Speaker John Perez and members of the State Assembly listened to the desperate concerns of Californians who lack basic access to healthcare. By voting in support of SB 726, which will allow facilities in rural and federally designated health professional shortage areas to hire a limited number of doctors, the Assembly has acted to ease the escalating doctor shortages that are plaguing lower income and rural communities," said Tom Petersen, director of government relations for the Association of California Healthcare Districts.

According to the California Medical Association, only 30% of California doctors will treat uninsured or Medi-Cal covered patients. By allowing hospitals and clinics in medically underserved areas to hire doctors, and provide them stable income, benefits, and work conditions, the economic deterrent that keeps doctors from being able to work in low income and rural communities would be lifted.

"We have been looking forward to this day for a long time. Our job of assuring access to medical care in our communities is more and more challenging. Today's vote is a positive sign that good and reasonable judgment can prevail in the legislative process. Californians living in rural underserved areas deserve services that are equivalent to other state residents, and having the ability to offer employment to doctors will help," said Gail Nickerson, California Association of Rural Health Clinics (CARHC).

More than 50 leading health care and civil justice groups including Health Access, AARP, The Medical Board of California, Catholic Healthcare West, California State Association of Counties, Equality California, California Association of Rural Health Clinics, Association of California Healthcare Districts, California Hospital Association, and Dolores C. Huerta Foundation support SB 726. The only major opposition to the bill is California Medical Association.

For more information visit www.DoctorsForAll.org

SOURCE Doctors for All
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