About 200 regions in the state are suffering from a shortage of doctors. The most severe problem is in rural communities in the Central Valley.
Dr. Norma Solis is one of two primary care physicians at the United Health Centers of Central California in Sanger. Like most days, today she was booked solid.
Dr. Solis says, "We're working a full volume full day. It's challenging to try to still provide the patient care that we're used to and having a conversation with our patient."
It's a problem many rural communities in the valley face, not enough doctors to meet the demand.
Henry T. Perea, (D-State Assembly) says, "When I would go out and visit with these folks, we would learn that very few of these communities had access to doctors, specifically primary care physicians and so we were looking for some new and creative ways for students to spend some time there."
Assemblymember Henry T. Perea found a solution, money. And lots of it. He's introduced a bill that would offer students a scholarship of up to $105,000. In return, students would promise to practice in these under served areas. Monday, Governor Brown gave the green light.
Perea says, "It's a real game changer, I really hope that this scholarship program is really focused toward homegrown doctors who are already from the Valley who want to come back home to serve their communities. This could be one more avenue for them to pay for their education and come home."
Santos Carrillos, Sanger Resident says, "We need it for the future, we need it here in Sanger, we don't have to many doctors here."
Dr. Solis agrees she and fellow physicians could use the extra help. Her concern however is that the program only requires students to commit for three years.
Dr. Solis says, "It doesn't really take care of the big problem, it's a very short-term solution, it takes a certain type of personality to stay, so I'm hoping it will attract people to come in and those that do come, some will stay."
The funds for this scholarship program will come mostly through private donations. Administrators also plan to tap into federal funds through the affordable care act.
The bill takes affect January 1, 2013.