Does Bakersfield Need More Doctors?

Moderated by John Arthur, Vice President and Executive Editor, The Bakersfield Californian
Bakersfield Museum of Art
1930 R Street
Bakersfield, CA 93301
Free parking in front of museum.

If you live in Bakersfield, you’re more likely than most Californians to be obese, have diabetes, or suffer from cardiac disease. And you’re less likely than most Californians to be able to see a doctor any time soon. Kern County has 1,200 patients for every primary care physician, nearly double the national benchmark. With over 3 million Californians getting health insurance thanks to the Affordable Care Act, the lines in the waiting room and the waits for appointments will only grow longer. Can Bakersfield’s overtaxed doctors handle this new influx? How can more doctors be recruited to the area—and what will entice them to stay? Might the scope of practice laws that establish boundaries for nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and other healthcare providers be changed to allow them to take on some of the burden that rests on doctors? Kern Medical Center CEO Paul Hensler, University of California San Francisco Center for the Health Professions Associate Director Catherine Dower, and San Joaquin Community Hospital Vice President Jarrod McNaughton visit Zócalo to discuss what’s keeping doctors out of Bakersfield, and how to bring better healthcare in.