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AB-1306 Health Professions Careers Opportunity Program.(2021-2022)

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Date Published: 03/26/2021 04:00 AM
AB1306:v98#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Assembly  March 25, 2021

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2021–2022 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill
No. 1306


Introduced by Assembly Member Arambula
(Principal coauthor: Senator Caballero)

February 19, 2021


An act to amend Section 127875 of the Health and Safety Code, relating to health professions.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 1306, as amended, Arambula. Health Professions Careers Opportunity Program.
Under existing law, the Legislature finds there are insufficient numbers of minority health professionals to meet the state’s health care needs and declares the importance of increasing the number of minority health professionals in order to meet the special needs of population groups who face cultural and linguistic barriers to adequate health care, and to meet the state’s needs for a more equitable geographic distribution of professional health personnel resources. Existing law requires the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development to maintain a Health Professions Career Opportunity Program tasked with supporting and encouraging minority health professionals in training to practice in health professional shortage areas of California, among other duties.
This bill would make a technical, nonsubstantive change to these provisions. add to the Legislative findings that there is an urgent and growing need for California to expand its pool of talented, diverse health workers, and to connect them more effectively to jobs in all communities. The bill would also add recommended actions to those findings to address identified barriers to entry in the health professions for students from underrepresented and low-income backgrounds, as specified.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: NO   Local Program: NO  

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


SECTION 1.

 Section 127875 of the Health and Safety Code is amended to read:

127875.
 The Legislature finds and declares that California declares all of the following:
(a) California has an insufficient number of minority health professionals to meet the health care needs in the state. Greater numbers of minority health professionals are required to meet the special needs of population groups who face cultural and linguistic barriers to adequate health care and to meet the state’s needs for a more equitable geographic distribution of professional health personnel resources.
(b) An urgent and growing need exists for California to expand its pool of talented, diverse health workers and to connect them more effectively to jobs in all communities. Over the next decade, it is projected that California will have 4,100 fewer primary care providers than it will need. With the increased demand created by the COVID-19 pandemic, California is also facing severe and growing shortages in public health, behavioral health, and many allied health professions. Given that communities of color and low-income rural and urban communities are suffering disproportionate adverse impacts of the pandemic, the economic crisis, and persistent racism and systematic inequities, it is imperative that the future health workforce is representative of these populations. Large-scale expansion of opportunities for college students from minority and underresourced populations to graduate, secure jobs, enter health profession schools, and serve their communities will accelerate recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and advance critical health workforce, health equity, and health improvement-for-all goals.
(c) More than 7,000,000 Californians live in designated health professional shortage areas, which include some of the state’s largest and fastest growing regions such as the County of Los Angeles, the central valley, and Inland Empire. California is one of the most ethnically diverse states in the United States, but Latinos, African Americans, Native Americans, and some Asian populations are severely underrepresented in the health professions, and the state’s health workforce is increasingly unable to meet the needs of an estimated 7,300,000 patients with limited English proficiency.
(d) With communities of color expected to make up 65 percent of California’s population by 2030, it is imperative that greater action and investment be taken to increase health workforce diversity. Students from underrepresented minority and low-income backgrounds face many barriers to obtaining undergraduate and graduate degrees in the health professions. A recent University of California San Francisco Healthforce Center report identified some of these barriers as cost, lack of academic preparation, admission requirements, particularly for doctoral programs, lack of concordant mentors, stereotype threat, limited exposure to health careers, and poor advising.
(e) To address these barriers, the California Future Health Workforce Commission recommended, among other things, the following actions:
(1) The funding of 20 pilot programs, one on five campuses in each of the University of California, California State University, and California Community College System, and up to five programs at private universities for a total of 4,800 students annually with priority given to campuses with large numbers of underrepresented minorities and low-income students, demonstrated commitment to diversity and associated institutional change, a track record of providing tailored student support, and strong health professions school partnerships.
(2) The creation of a public-private health career opportunity program office to secure ongoing funding and to establish the statewide infrastructure to develop, implement, and manage programs. The office would administer a competitive application process for interested institutions and five-year pilot program grants. The office would provide technical assistance, serve as a repository for best practices, conduct evaluation, and advocate on behalf of programs.
(3) The funding of internships and fellowships to enable more students to compete for admission to graduate health professions schools or employment in the field. This effort would fund paid summer internships for college students in community health centers, public health departments, public behavioral health settings, and with providers serving older adults, as well as community-based initiatives that promote health equity. Additionally, the effort would fund one-year postundergraduate fellowships for in-depth, pregraduate school experience in primary care and prevention, behavioral health, and older adult health.
(4) The creation of 100 postbaccalaureate reapplicant slots annually at existing University of California, California State University, and private California-based programs and the provision of student scholarships for reapplicant postbaccalaureate students to cover 100 percent of program tuition.