Senate Passes Resolution to Address Physician Shortage

August 22, 2011

Resolution urges the President and Congress to increase the supply of physicians and graduate medical residency positions available in California

Sacramento, Calif. – Assembly Member Ricardo Lara's (D-Bell Gardens) Assembly Joint Resolution 13 received bipartisan support in the Senate today with a 23-10 vote. AJR 13 urges the President and Congress to provide resources to increase the supply of physicians in California in order to improve access to care in underserved areas. The resolution also encourages the President and Congress to consider solutions that would increase the number of graduate medical education residency positions to keep pace with the growing need for physicians in California and the United States.

"We are making great strides as a nation to increase access to healthcare but if we do not have enough physicians to keep up with the need, we will leave entire communities behind. It is unacceptable for California, the 8th largest economy in the world, to fall well below the national average for medical residency slots for future doctors. AJR 13 advocates for the people of California and highlights the crucial need for more primary care physicians to serve our State," said Assemblymember Lara.

A recent report by the Association of American Colleges Center for Workforce Studies found that the nation is facing a crisis with regard to physician workforce. The report projected that by the year 2020 there will be a nationwide physician shortage of 91,500 and by the year 2025, the shortage is projected to increase to 130,600. In California, conservative estimates project a physician shortage of 17,000 by 2015.

Currently, 42 out of California's 58 counties fall below the minimum recommendations set forth by the Council on Graduate Medical Education's regarding adequate physician supply for primary care. In addition, while some ethnic communities in the State enjoy a ratio of 361 physicians per 100,000 residents, African American communities experience a ratio of 178 physicians per 100,000 residents, and Latino communities experience an even more dismal ratio of 56 physicians per 100,000 residents.

AJR 13 now heads to the Secretary of State for chaptering.