BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    

                                                                     AB 174

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          Date of Hearing:  March 25, 2015


                                 Jimmy Gomez, Chair

          174 (Gray) - As Amended February 9, 2015

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          Urgency:  No  State Mandated Local Program:  NoReimbursable:   


          This bill:

          1)Appropriates $1,855,000 from the General Fund annually,  


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            beginning in 2016-17, to the University of California (UC) to  
            support the San Joaquin Valley Program in Medical Education  
            (PRIME) at UC Merced and to expand enrollment to 12 students  
            per year (48 students total across a four-year curriculum).

          2)Appropriates $1 million from the General Fund to UC for  
            2016-17 to undertake planning for the establishment of a  
            medical school at UC Merced. UC is to report its plan and  
            funding requirements and development schedule for the medical  
            school by March 1, 2019.

          FISCAL EFFECT:

          1)One-time cost of $1 million and ongoing cost of $1,855,000 as  
            specified in the bill.

          2)Cost to develop and operate a new medical school would be  
            several tens of millions of dollars one-time and low tens of  
            millions of dollars ongoing.


          1)Background. UC operates 17 health professional schools and  
            programs, enrolling over 14,000 students, at seven campuses,  
            including six medical schools (Davis, Irvine, Los Angeles,  
            Riverside, San Diego, and San Francisco). 

            UC PRIME is a training program focused on meeting the needs of  
            California's underserved populations in both rural communities  
            and urban areas by combining specialized coursework,  
            structured clinical experiences, advanced independent study  
            and mentoring. Five of UC's medical schools operate PRIMEs.  


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            UC Merced currently offers degrees in fields that satisfy  
            medical school preparatory requirements and is developing  
            plans intended to lead to a School of Medicine.  In 2010, UC  
            Merced opened a PRIME in partnership with the UC Davis School  
            of Medicine and UCSF focused the health needs of the San  
            Joaquin Valley. 

          2)Purpose. The UC Merced PRIME to date has not received state  
            funding. (In fact, UC indicates that only 78 of the 333  
            medical students statewide in PRIME are funded by the state.)  
            This bill funds support for the existing program at UC Merced  
            and expansion of enrollment from six to 12 students per year  
            (48 students total), which would make the program comparable  
            in size to the other PRIMEs. In addition, the bill provides  
            funding to plan for a new medical school at UC Merced.

            According to the author, "despite its numerous benefits for  
            the region PRIME lacks an ongoing source of funding for its  
            current enrollment as well as the financial resources to  
            expand capacity to meet the needs of the valley.   
            Additionally, state support is vital to the continued  
            expansion of the campus of UC Merced and to lay the foundation  
            of a new UC Medical School."

          3)PRIME Over-appropriated. For the UC Merced PRIME program to  
            expand over four years, total program costs would be  
            $1,225,000 in 2016-17 (for 30 students), $1,435,000 in 2017-18  
            (for 36 students), $1,645,000 in 2018-19 (for 42 students),  
            and $1,855,000 in 2018-19 and each year thereafter (for 48  

          4)Related Legislation. SB 131 (Cannella), pending in the Senate  
            Budget and Fiscal Review, contains the same appropriation for  
            UC Merced PRIME.  

          5)Prior Legislation. In 2014, AB 2232 (Gray), was substantially  
            similar when it passed this committee. The bill, which was  


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            subsequently amended to delete the $1 million for planning,  
            was held on Suspense in Senate Appropriations. 

            The 2013 Budget Act included trailer bill language requiring  
            UC to allocate $15 million for planning and startup costs  
            associated with academic programs to be offered by the School  
            of Medicine at UC Riverside.

            Analysis Prepared by:Chuck Nicol / APPR. / (916) 319-2081