Governor Brown Signs Bonilla Bill to Create New Pathway for More Physicians in CA

July 21, 2014 8:00 am · 29 comments


Assemblywoman Bonilla’s AB 1838, which allows graduates of accelerated and fully accredited medical education programs to become licensed physicians in California, was signed into law on Friday by Governor Brown.

The following information is from the Office of Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla:

“Currently California faces an extreme shortage of trained medical residents and physicians,” said Assemblywoman Susan A. Bonilla (D-Concord). “AB 1838 is an innovative step towards addressing this problem and meeting the needs of our communities, without diminishing the quality of patient care.”
Accelerated programs differ from traditional programs as they focus on the individuals’ skills and academic achievements, as opposed to the length of time they are in school. Accelerated programs do not replace current programs, they are offered as a separate track. Only students who have demonstrated a high level of scientific and medical understanding are eligible for the accelerated track.

This bill, which is co-sponsored by the Medical Board of California and the University of California, will be effective January, 2015.

“The Medical Board of California is pleased that Governor Brown signed AB 1838 into law,” said Executive Director, Kimberly Kirchmeyer. “This bill will help meet the needs of applicants applying for licensure, who have graduated from accelerated medical school programs, and will also assist in reducing student debt. The passage of the bill will further the Medical Board’s mission of promoting access to care while continuing to protect consumers.”

“We want to thank Assemblymember Susan A. Bonilla and the Medical Board of California for their leadership on this important and timely legislation,” said Dr. Cathryn Nation, UC Associate Vice President, Health Sciences. “UC is proud that its School of Medicine at Davis, in partnership with Kaiser Permanente, developed the first accelerated medical education program in California, enrolling its first class of six students in June 2014. Now, future graduates from not only this primary-care focused program – but also other accelerated programs – will have a clear path to medical practice in California.”

Assemblywoman Bonilla’s legislation, AB 1838, is also expected to enable California’s graduate medical education or residency training programs to recruit graduates of accelerated medical education programs operated by other accredited medical schools to complete their specialty training, become licensed, and enter practice in the state. Not only do accelerated programs address the clear need for more physicians while reducing student debt, they do so without affecting the quality of healthcare that patients deserve.

prospective med student July 21, 2014 at 8:26 AM

whoo hoo! Now I won’t have to struggle through those biochemistry, gross anatomy, and pathophys courses. Will Los Medanos offer a med school degree? can’t wait.

. July 21, 2014 at 8:27 AM

Just making it up as they go, term practicing physician takes on a whole new meaning in CA.

What are they called July 21, 2014 at 8:42 AM

Those on the accelerated program that are accredited when last in their class are still called Drs.

Anonymous July 21, 2014 at 8:44 AM

Last sentence in press release a lie. Of course with Obama care we will have substandard physicians so Bonillas approach makes sense.

Killjoy July 21, 2014 at 8:45 AM

I hope they have their malpractice insurance up to date.

John H. July 21, 2014 at 9:03 AM

hurrah for rushed programs and medical personnel that cannot speak English very good.

Marianne July 21, 2014 at 9:08 AM

Anonymous, I have to agree with you.

Be Happy July 21, 2014 at 9:39 AM

What could possibly go wrong?

BigBroWatching July 21, 2014 at 9:51 AM

Gov’t doesn’t and cannot create jobs (except Govt jobs). But it can stifle them. End ObamaCare and watch jobs in these fields return.

Damned Socialists.

gimli July 21, 2014 at 9:57 AM

“Accelerated programs do not replace current programs, they are offered as a separate track. Only students who have demonstrated a high level of scientific and medical understanding are eligible for the accelerated track.”

I’m not sure how you’d become a Doctor through Los Medanos since they only offer nursing programs.

VikingPrincess July 21, 2014 at 10:00 AM

I know many who bypass (no pun intended) moving onto medical school and take the law school route. By the time they are able to practice an adult could be well into their 40s. Less savory for women who want a family or men who want the same. Not sure what this all entails. I’d bet this will involve considering RNs, NPs, CRNAs and PAs training and clinical. The internship and residency takes quite a while. If a California thing, then I wonder how other states will honor practice.
Gives you perspective on “where” the problem is, as when there have been nursing shortages – schools dint typically increase classes – not accelerate education. I do recall meeting one person who taught in am excellerated RN school in East bay. She was cracked. No joke. Again, it appears that the acellerated idea is related to clinical in this case NOT theory. Let’s hope.

livininconcord July 21, 2014 at 11:01 AM

Right. Once the Late Great Country of the USA could be proud of our Medical Accomplishments. Now we will join the rest of the 3rd rate Medical Practitioners. So we can equally go to Mexico for our bipass surgery, or maybe Honduras. If we are going to do this, then lets take the gloves off and let the prescriptions run wild. Right now, older people are driving to Mexico or Canada to get rx. But in 3rd world area’s, you can just go to the local dispensary. But you do know that Obama, Pelosi, Reid, Gingrich, (you know the rich people) will all have great medical. Because there will a few of the good ones left. And why would they work on you, for pennies, when they can work on the likes of $$$. Get real people. My MD just retired, and he’s right. We have seen the last of the Medical Field as we once knew it. It’s gone, thank you Poliicians.

PO'd July 21, 2014 at 11:06 AM

An admission that Obamacare is scaring away doctors? Probably. I sure don’t want fast track doctors “practicing” on me.

U C Ripoff July 21, 2014 at 11:09 AM

Since the UC system has been ripping us all off, I don’t trust them. My gut tells me the bar was just lowered. Since no one in their right mind would go through the training already in place to become a first rate American Dr., only to work for the government system, I’m not surprised at something like this.

The government will ruin healthcare one step at a time. This is one of those steps.

Vote the bums on both sides of the aisle out and change the Constitution to enforce legitimate term limits ( Jerry Brown’s career began in the 1970’s!!!) or get used to being controlled at every turn in your daily life.

Vindex July 21, 2014 at 11:09 AM

Okay… Ms Bonilla gets these fast tracked “doctors” as her personal physician. This isn’t the answer. We must incentivize the profession and then we would get the best. I have spoken to quite a few physicians recently and they have told me Obamacate is going destroy the profession. Ms Bonilla do you support obamacare? If you do, nothing you do will help until it is repealed. I cannot believe I once voted for Ms. Bonilla. I am ashamed of that vote.

The Professor July 21, 2014 at 11:13 AM

The shortage of doctors is not caused by long years of medical school. It’s the payment system. Long time doctors are leaving the field because of Medicare and Obamacare. New potential doctors find different fields to pursue when they realize that their student loans won’t be paid off with the government payment structure.

Ask a local doctor if they are accepting new patients. The answer is almost always no. Call back the next day and ask if they are accepting new patients with private insurance and the answer is “Of course, let me take your inforamation.”

The Mamba July 21, 2014 at 11:50 AM

Another way to keep and attract doctors would be to address the increasingly hostile environment the current ones have to do business in so that they don’t leave the state.

foonman July 21, 2014 at 11:52 AM

Oh goody, “half baked doctors”

just a concordian July 21, 2014 at 12:03 PM

So happy I can finally buy those specially marked cereal boxes for a chance to find an MD degree inside. In your face Willy Wonka! All you managed was a stupid tour of a chocolate factory full of weird dwarfs and an owner with hidden sadistic and possibly pedophilistic tendencies.

RunDogRun July 21, 2014 at 12:25 PM

If you voted for her or Brown,
what did you expect?

Really?! July 21, 2014 at 1:10 PM

Part of the benefit in having a fully trained and experienced MD treat you is that they can ALSO best tell when something seemingly harmless is actually something potentially serious.

A less experienced person may do fine with basic things, but they may be more likely to miss signs of something potentially serious.

I get the logic in having acceleration or seeing Nurse practitioners before full MD visit, but in some cases it adds risk and/or delays things which could be bad in some cases.

Refer to the recent WSJ article also re: fast-food-ization of health care. It will be just like going to a Starbucks on the corner except it will be an McDoctor shack and you’ll whip out your iPhone and scan in for that McXray or McProcedure done by some minimum wage worker following the steps on the screen of his McDoctor iPad while being assisted by a robot sticking things in your….

Always Right July 21, 2014 at 1:11 PM

Please note business/medical community brought this issue to Bonilla. She did not come up with this idea herself. In this case she is just doing her job (responding to a special interest group).

I have no particular problems with this legislation. What is galling is she and DeSaulinier are able to use Claycord as a regular form of free advertising.

Would be nice if Claycord would simply list everything she votes on and sponsors, and not allow her press office to cherry pick her actions and write the narrative.

Anon July 21, 2014 at 1:19 PM

Here we go, cutting corners due to ObamaCare! Who’ll be the first to die, either due to lack of experience or not being able to communicate with the “doctor”.

VikingPrincess July 21, 2014 at 2:06 PM

@Really #22
I will read the article you mentioned. I do hope this is not what will happen, as I have seen this in nursing since 2010.
But what if that wonderful NP that has been running a clinic for 10 years can apply to med school in this fashion? Why not ? The current system would not consider her experience. Or that certified nurse anesthetist in a leadership role for 15 years…going back through a program that considers all experience and allows he/she to become an anesthesiologist.
Sounds OK to me
This might also apply with physicians from other countries. Many time they become RNs or PA’s because the system makes them start over. This might allow their experience. I am not so sure what I would think of this idea. Ensuring no fraud occurs, they had best speak and understand English…hmm.
Apologies for my previous post – terrible spell correct. Let’s see what happens with this post.

Really?! July 21, 2014 at 3:19 PM


I hear what you’re saying about the years of experience for NPs and then having it “ignored” but sometimes we go down paths in life that are not easily undone. I wouldn’t change the rules about what’s required for being a doctor simply because it’s going to take someone too long to get through it, but I think your focus is more on not getting credit for “like” skills already achieved.

I think the trick would be ensuring that any overlap in curriculum between nursing credentials isn’t ignored if someone then went to med school, but otherwise the requirements should stand in my opinion, all time issues aside.

Jess July 21, 2014 at 5:39 PM

This bill does not lower the standards for admittance to medical school or allow less well-educated doctors to practice in CA. It allows exceptionally well-qualified students – such as those who already have advanced science degrees or extensive health care experience – to graduate from medical school in three years instead of four. The majority of med students will still enroll in four year programs.

The bill also allows doctors who graduated from accelerated programs in other states to practice in California. Texas Tech, Columbia, and NYU are among medical schools offering accelerated programs.

SpiritDog July 22, 2014 at 7:25 AM

Will they be opening their own practice or only work in large hospitals? If the later they might have experienced supervising physicians.

If they want to specialize in a certain area will they get a fast track green light on that, too?

I recall seeing something once about students that did all sorts of cheating to get their degrees, e.g., they paid others to take their exams for them. I’ve never seen anything more on it.

As a side, so many commercial airplane accidents are caused due to human error by inexperienced pilots. The companies trying to save a buck hire those first out of college and they lack the flight time. Government requirements have improved as pilots are now required about double what they used to have to perform before being issued their license.

And long-haul truckers cheat on their run logs spending more time on the road without taking required rest time so they can make more money for themselves/companies. They cause a fair amount of trouble, too.

Now medical students are getting a break. The only upside I can think of is for all the nurses that perform jobs almost identical to the doctors they work with. Now they can consider the fast track to doctor nirvana.

I guess we always get what we pay for. Or not.

Pyrrhus July 22, 2014 at 9:21 AM

Want to solve the problem? Lower the costs of universities which means slashing the amount of administrators, reduce Administrator’s pay (there is no reason why administrators should be making more money then professors), increase funding (Government support has declined since 1987), allow the schools to have more autonomy (Be able to approve their own building projects, manage their own HR resources, allow them to manage their own bonds.)

You reduce the cost for students and they will no longer owe a house worth of debt which makes the field attractive once more attractive. Also, I’m for accelerated programs as long as the testing and standards does not get modified. Remember, it takes 4 years of college, 4 years of medical school, and 3 years of residency. Most Doctors won’t start practicing until they are in their 30s. Now, you have to pay off a house worth of debt?

Any ethical Doctor will tell you that they aren’t into the field of medicine to become rich. They become doctors to help people. Obamacare helps people get coverage and treatment that they couldn’t otherwise. Unfortunately, these patients aren’t as lucrative to Doctors due to the amount paid out by their insurance. Why do Doctors need high paying patients? Because they have a ton of debt and malpractice insurance is expensive. Fix those two things and a Doctor can see everyone.

you people are stupid.... July 23, 2014 at 12:36 PM

This is a step in the right direction –
The bottom line is we need more people entering the medical profession in the state of california. at least this is solution to addressing the shortage of physicians. What are your brilliant solutions? To wave your imaginery magic wands and have doctors appear out of thin air??

Don’t any of you people stop and think for a moment that perhaps those who are enrolled on the fast track/accelerated programs are doing so because they already hold down jobs, and this might be the only way for them to become licensed practicioners?? Not everyone has the $$$ to spend 4 year in medical school without earning any income.

“Only students who have demonstrated a high level of scientific and medical understanding are eligible for the accelerated track.” – But yet some of you fools think that the education standards will be lower – how do you arrive at this conclusion?

The most important characteristic for a physician is to have a passion for medicine, and compassion for helping people.

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