Senator Roth Fights to Alleviate Inland Southern California Health Care Crisis

January 09, 2019

(SACRAMENTO) – Senator Richard D. Roth shared his plan for a greater investment in the health and wellness of Inland Southern California. Senate Bill 56 will provide a one-time appropriation for the construction of a new University of California, Riverside (UCR) School of Medicine facility with an additional investment for ongoing support. Assemblymembers Sabrina Cervantes (D-Corona) and Jose Medina (D-Riverside) are both principal co-authors of the bill.

“Ensuring access to care must be a top concern for this state as demand for physicians is expected to increase as more people access health care services and the population grows and ages,” said Senator Richard D. Roth (D-Riverside). “However, California’s supply of primary care physicians is significantly below what is considered sufficient to meet patient needs, and when you look at Inland Southern California that supply can only be described as woefully inadequate.”

“SB 56 represents a critical step towards improving access to quality healthcare across Inland Southern California. I am proud to work alongside my friend and colleague, Senator Roth to advocate for funding for the expansion of the UCR School of Medicine,” said Assemblymember Sabrina Cervantes (D-Corona). “Expanding the School of Medicine will allow UCR to continue providing advanced medical care, train more physicians, and keep up with the demands of our growing region. It is imperative that SB 56 garners community support. Our region needs more doctors.”

“We need to invest in the expansion of the UCR Medical School to ensure that the Inland Empire, which is historically underserved, has sufficient access to high quality health care for years to come,” said Assemblymember Jose Medina (D-Riverside).

The physician shortage issue is one that affects the entire state. Based on the September 2018 California Health Report article California Grapples With Growing Physician Shortage For Low-Income Patients, California will be short 4,700 primary-care physicians by 2025 and 8,800 by 2030. In Inland Southern California, the physician shortage is even more pronounced.

The rapidly growing, and ethnically diverse, area of Inland Southern California has just 35 physicians for every 100,000 people, far short of the recommended 60 to 80 per 100,000. The region’s population will continue to grow meaning this crisis will worsen unless more doctors are educated and trained locally. According to new data released by the U.S. Census Bureau, Riverside County alone added almost 37,000 new residents in 2017 – the third-biggest population growth of any county in the nation. The UCR School of Medicine must substantially expand in order to meet the need for primary care physicians.

The School of Medicine opened in August 2013 with an initial class of 50 students.  The School of Medicine facility is currently at capacity with a total enrollment of 250 students. The critical demand for physicians in Inland Southern California requires that the School of Medicine expand its facilities to permit a doubling of enrollment from 250 students to 500 students.

Senator Roth continued: “Inland Southern California is experiencing a surge in its economy and population as the region veers into a public health crisis. If we don’t act now to alleviate this dire need we will regret it.”

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Senator Richard D. Roth represents the 31st State Senate District, which includes the communities of Corona, Eastvale, Jurupa Valley, March Air Reserve Base, Moreno Valley, Norco, Perris and Riverside. Prior to his election, he served for 32 years in the United States Air Force, retiring in 2007 in the grade of Major General.