What the experts say about doctor access in Kern County

“For so many millions of Americans, the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) will be a little bit frustrating. They will have the card, they will have this new coverage. They’re going to sort of expect that ‘Now that I’ve got this card, you’re going to have room for me.’” 
— Stephen Schilling, CEO of Clinica Sierra Vista

“The physician shortage in the valley is a huge challenge. It’s not only primary care. It’s specialists as well.”
— Jacey Cooper, executive director of managed care at Kern Medical Center

“Most of our kids who need a specialist are either sent to Madera, UCLA or may even go as far as San Francisco. For those families who don’t have the transportation, they can’t get there. It’s a two-hour drive either way minimum. That’s if you have a car that works and money for gas.”  
— Debbie WoodBakersfield City School District’s coordinator of school health

“A lot of doctors initially accept Medi-Cal and once they start building up, they gradually go off Medi-Cal. I didn’t have the heart to do that. Morally, I felt these are patients who helped me in hard times. I didn’t want them not to be my patients in good times.” 
— Dr. Hasmukh Amin, Bakersfield pediatrician

“How are you going to go to a clinic if your child has diabetes or leukemia or cancer? You have to go to certain doctors because Medi-Cal isn’t going to cover it. So where does that leave these children?” 
— Pamela Mayfield, Oildale resident and grandmother of 13-year-old Devin Vallejo, who has juvenile diabetes and has to travel to Madera several times a year for appointments. 

“For a person trying to get care in Medi-Cal, can they really find a physician when they need one? Everything else is kind of secondary. Where do people go if they can’t find a physician in the community? They will go to the ER.” 
— Lisa Folberg, vice president of medical and regulatory policy for the California Medical Association

More Stories from This Project

Are there enough Medi-Cal doctors in the Central Valley?

Senior Writer Emily Bazar appeared on Valley Public Radio’s Valley Edition program on February 5 to discuss the availability of doctors for the region’s poorest residents.

Community’s generosity to struggling family brings grandmother to tears

In Bakersfield, one good deed often begets another. A prime example presented itself this week when Caroline and Elwood Elliott set out to fix Pamela Mayfield’s truck.

Will rate increase buy more Medi-Cal doctors for Kern County?

Bakersfield doctor Hasmukh Amin is bracing for competition.
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