Amended in Assembly June 1, 2015

Amended in Assembly February 9, 2015

California Legislature—2015–16 Regular Session

Assembly BillNo. 174

Introduced by Assembly Member Gray

(Principal coauthor: Senator Cannella)

January 22, 2015

An act relating to the University of California, and making an appropriation therefor.


AB 174, as amended, Gray. University of California: medical education.

Existing provisions of the California Constitution establish the University of California as a public trust under the administration of the Regents of the University of California. The University of California system includes 10 campuses, which are located in Berkeley, Davis, Irvine, Los Angeles, Merced, Riverside, San Diego, San Francisco, Santa Barbara, and Santa Cruz.

This bill would express findings and declarations of the Legislature relating to the role of the University of California with respect to access to health care in the San Joaquin Valley.

The bill would appropriatebegin delete $1,855,000end deletebegin insert $1,255,000end insert from the General Fund to the regents each fiscal year, commencing with the 2016-17 fiscal year, for allocation to the University of California to support expansion of the San Joaquin Valley Program in Medical Education, as specified.

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The bill would appropriate $1,000,000 from the General Fund to the Regents of the University of California during the 2016-17 fiscal year for allocation to the University of California to support a 2-year planning effort geared toward the establishment of a separate traditional medical school at the University of California, Merced, as specified.

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Vote: 23. Appropriation: yes. Fiscal committee: yes. State-mandated local program: no.

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:

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The Legislature finds and declares all of the

3(a) The federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
4provides millions of previously uninsured Californians access to
5health services, including physician care. As a result of this
6additional demand for physician services, the projected statewide
7physician shortfall is 17,000 for 2015.

8(b) The San Joaquin Valley, which runs from Stockton to
9Bakersfield, is rich in cultural diversity and is the nation’s leading
10agricultural region. However, the valley is disproportionately
11affected by the state’s physician shortage, which is expected to
12intensify in the years ahead given the high rate of population
13growth in the area. Access to health care is 31 percent lower in the
14San Joaquin Valley than in the rest of California.

15(c) Several regions of the San Joaquin Valley are federally
16designated Medically Underserved Areas (MUAs). The calculation
17of MUAs involves four variables: the ratio of primary medical
18care physicians per 1,000 population, the infant mortality rate, the
19percentage of the population with incomes below the poverty level,
20and the percentage of the population 65 years of age or over.

21(d) To help address California’s physician workforce needs, the
22Regents of the University of California engaged in a comprehensive
23strategic planning process and, in May 2008, approved moving
24forward with planning efforts leading to the development of a
25possible medical school at the campus of the University of
26California, Merced (UC Merced). At that time, the regents also
27approved moving forward with other preparations, such as planning
28for the initial basic sciences and clinical infrastructure. Upon
29completion of these and other activities, the regents envisioned
P3    1that a formal proposal to establish a new medical school eventually
2could be developed.

3(e) The medical schools of the University of California,
4including a possible future medical school at UC Merced, will play
5an important role in addressing California’s physician shortages.

6(f) Medical education and a possible future UC Merced School
7of Medicine will further contribute to the economic growth of the
8San Joaquin Valley and the state, as well as expand educational
9opportunities for valley residents, and will further support UC
10Merced’s trajectory toward becoming a top-tier university.

11(g) UC Merced’s San Joaquin Valley Program in Medical
12Education (PRIME) is providing a key interim resource for training
13valley health care providers. This program accomplishes all of the

15(1) Strengthens the desire for new physicians to practice in the
16San Joaquin Valley, which is one of California’s most medically
17underserved areas.

18(2) Reduces health disparities and inequalities in the San Joaquin

20(3) Forms lasting relationships between the program and
21communities, hospitals, clinics, and physicians to enhance health
22care in the region.

23(h) Students who take part in PRIME benefit from firsthand
24experience with interdisciplinary health care by providing care in
25medically underserved communities, working with patients and
26families from culturally diverse backgrounds, and developing a
27true understanding of the issues and conditions that impact access
28to and quality of health care in the region.

29(i) Despite its numerous benefits for its region, PRIME lacks
30an ongoing source of funding for its current enrollment as well as
31the financial resources to expand capacity to meet the needs of the

33(j) Given the San Joaquin Valley’s health care needs and the
34critical role that a possible future medical school at UC Merced
35would play in addressing those needs, it is essential for the State
36of California to continue developing the valley’s health care
37resources by sustaining the current PRIME enrollment, expanding
38that program’s capacity, and continuing to move toward the
39establishment of a medical school at UC Merced.

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SEC. 2.  

The sum of one millionbegin delete eightend deletebegin insert twoend insert hundred fifty-five
2thousand dollarsbegin delete ($1,855,000)end deletebegin insert ($1,255,000)end insert is hereby appropriated
3from the General Fund to the Regents of the University of
4California each fiscal year, commencing with the 2016-17 fiscal
5year, for allocation to the University of California to support
6expansion of the San Joaquin Valley PRIME program to admit up
7to 12 students per year and operate the program with up to 48
8student participants from across the four-year curriculum annually.

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SEC. 3.  

The sum of one million dollars ($1,000,000) is hereby
10appropriated from the General Fund to the Regents of the
11University of California during the 2016--17 fiscal year for
12allocation to the University of California, to support a two-year
13planning effort geared toward the establishment of a separate
14traditional medical school at the University of California, Merced.
15The effort shall include determination of the necessary program
16components such as basic and clinical science courses, curriculum,
17capital needs, one-time and ongoing operational funding, student
18support services, and other necessary components. The University
19of California shall submit a report to the appropriate policy and
20fiscal committees of the Legislature by March 1, 2019,
21summarizing its planning efforts and providing recommendations
22 and estimates for the infrastructure, personnel, and funding, and
23time necessary to establish and maintain such a program.

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