Sacramento, California -  To help alleviate physician shortages in his district, Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia (D- Coachella) requested $40 million to expand the UC graduate medical education program. This request was successfully approved by the Legislature yesterday and incorporated into the 2018-2019 Budget.

Currently, six out of nine Californian regions face a dire primary care shortage. Our state ranks twenty-third in the number of physicians per resident.

“Half of Californians live in a community where they do not have adequate access to necessary healthcare services. This issue disproportionately affects rural areas like those in my district. These funds to expand the UC graduate medical education program are critical to helping alleviate the severe physician shortage that exists in Imperial County,” said Assemblymember Garcia.

“Securing this $40 million in the budget was an absolute priority for me. The UC graduate medical education program has the flexibility to establish residency slots for specialists as well as to initiate new programs in low-income areas like ours that have been encountering extreme difficulties attracting physicians. This investment is a major step toward expanding healthcare opportunities for our 56th Assembly District communities.”

Over the years, Assemblymember Garcia has worked hand-in-hand with both Riverside and Imperial County healthcare agencies such as Pioneers Memorial Healthcare District to procure much-needed state resources. Pioneers Memorial Healthcare District manages the hospital and is the leading healthcare service provider for residents in Imperial County. A majority of that service area is comprised of Medi-Cal members. Roughly estimated, there is one physician to every 9,000 residents within the county.

“I highly commend Assemblymember Garcia’s leadership and consistent efforts to address health disparities in our community. For over 50 years, Pioneers Memorial Healthcare District has worked to provide state of the art health services and programs in Imperial County with limited resources and physicians. The expansion of the UC graduate medical education program will enhance our ability to tackle widespread provider shortages in our low income, rural area,” stated Larry Lewis, CEO of Pioneers Memorial Healthcare District.

Wednesday, Governor Brown is expected to sign the final state budget which includes a wide array of Assemblymember Garcia’s other district funding priorities.