Medical School Proposal Will Expand Telemedicine
The UC-Davis School of Medicine proposed a $35 million plan to expand a Northern California telecommunications network, increase the number of medical students and provide more physicians in rural areas, the Redding Record Searchlight reports.
The telemedicine expansion is intended to address a statewide shortage of rural physicians, according to Dr. Michael Wilkes, associate dean of medical education at UC-Davis (Sabalow, Redding Record Searchlight, 12/8).
Much of the funding for the network will come from Proposition 1D -- a $10.4 billion ballot initiative approved by voters in the November election, which provides $200 million for expanding medical school programs and improving telemedicine statewide -- the Woodland Daily Democrat reports.
Rural areas in California have fewer providers per person than urban areas, and rural residents suffer higher rates of chronic illnesses, hospitalizations and cancer, according to the Daily Democrat (Woodland Daily Democrat, 12/8). The UC-Davis plan would train more physicians in rurally focused curriculums and clinical training programs. Some of the training would take place at a telemedicine resource center in Sacramento that aims to connect to specialists and physicians in rural areas of the state.
The center will enhance the Northern Sierra Rural Health Network, which has 40 videoconferencing facilities in nine northeastern California counties, according to Speranza Avram, Northern Sierra's executive director (Redding Record Searchlight, 12/8).
Another UC-Davis program -- called "Programs in Medical Education-Rural" or PRIME-Rural -- aims to increase the number of physicians working outside urban areas. The state is expected within a decade to face a shortage of between 5,000 and 17,000 physicians, which will especially affect rural areas (Woodland Daily Democrat, 12/8).