Orange, Riverside Counties Exempt From Mexican Doctors Bill
Orange and Riverside Counties are excluded from a bill designed to bring Mexican providers to underserved Latino areas, the Los Angeles Times reports (Reza, Los Angeles Times, 7/9). AB 1045, sponsored by Assembly member Marco Firebaugh (D-Los Angeles) and passed by the Assembly 48-15 last month, would grant three-year licenses to 70 doctors and 50 dentists from Mexico, where residency programs and requirements are "shorter and less intense than those California normally requires for foreign medical or dental school graduates." All candidates would be required to speak and read English and would have to serve in a California clinic for six months under a University of California teaching program (California Healthline, 6/25). Latino health officials in Orange County "question" why the county has been excluded from the proposal. Los Angeles, Ventura, San Bernardino, San Diego and Imperial counties are covered by the bill. Isabel Becerra, director of health and policy development for the Coalition of Orange County Community Clinics, said, "We were never consulted, and nobody's told us why we're not a part." The Times, however, reports that the county was excluded partly because the bill's sponsors wanted to "target" the underserved, rural areas that are "popular among new immigrants." Latino advocates say the county's "reputation for conservatism" and being "the birthplace of initiatives against illegal immigration" may "have been taken into account." The measure is currently being debated in the state Senate, where opponents argue that all doctors should be held to the "same standards." Supporters, however, say the bill would "make health care more accessible to those most in need." Also, advocates say the bill would "effectively shut down" illegal clinics used by Spanish-speaking patients (Reza, Los Angeles Times, 7/9).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.