State Budget Provision Will Fund Rural Doctor Program
A $3 million allocation in the fiscal year 2005-2006 state budget approved July 11 by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) will help inner-city and rural communities throughout the state recruit and retain physicians, Anmol Mahal, president-elect of the California Medical Association said Tuesday, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Under the loan-forgiveness program, created by legislation passed in 2003, newly licensed physicians who agree to work in poor and rural areas of the state for at least three years are eligible to receive $105,000 to repay student loans. About 50 doctors statewide participate in the program.
The additional funding will allow 25 to 30 more physicians to participate, according to California Medical Board spokesperson Peter Warren.
The bill that created the program did not reserve money to fund it in the state budget. The program was supported entirely by California Medical Board budget reserves and private donations.
In addition, a bill by Assembly member Hector De La Torre (D-South Gate) would fund the program by asking doctors to make $50 donations when renewing their licenses (Thermos, Los Angeles Times, 7/20).