Experts say most California counties have a shortage of primary care physicians, a problem that may be compounded when millions more people get insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act.
Lifting restrictions on non-physicians could help meet the new demand, supporters say.
California Health and Human Services Secretary Diana Dooley says there may be ways to modernize provider licenses.
"We have to talk about the investment that we make in the education of medical professionals and how we can maximize the return on that education investment," she says.
But she also says some things can't change.
"We have to be very conscious of quality and oversight...Clearly physicians are the captains of the teams of care. They will continue to be," she adds.
She says the federal health law embraces team-based health care, which means patients must change expectations about who sees them in the doctor's office.
[READ FULL LENGTH INTERVIEW WITH CALIFORNIA HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES SECRETARY DIANA DOOLEY HERE]
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