Capital Public Radio: State Loan Repayment Help Not Enough to Remedy California Doctor Shortages

By Pauline Bartolone

Millions more Californians will start enrolling in health insurance next year. But experts are worried that a limited number of doctors in the state will mean health care consumers will have an insurance card but no doctor to see them.

Dr. Glen Villanueva has known he wanted to be a doctor since he was five years old.

“I looked forward to going to the doctor,” Villanueva recalls. “I liked how clean the office was, I liked the lab coat. It just impressed me that it was a place where people got help when they were hurting.”

Now, at 46 years old, Dr. Villanueva sees up to three dozen patients a day at Ceres Medical Office, a clinic in a rural area outside of Modesto.

His patients are poor.  Many have chronic diseases, mental health problems or addictions. But Dr. Villanueva knew he wanted to serve the underserved.

“Being Filipino myself and being an immigrant myself, it seemed kind of a natural fit,” says Villanueva. “So there’s something to be said from a social justice standpoint to help take care of the folks that need the most amount of help.”

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  • LAAAC is managed by St. Barnabas Senior Services; Funded, in part, by Archstone Foundation.
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