Massachusetts Medical Society: Massachusetts Medical Society and the Massachusetts Chapter of the American College of Physicians support the Healthcare Workforce Resilience Act

Massachusetts Medical Society and the Massachusetts Chapter of the American College of Physicians support the Healthcare Workforce Resilience Act

The Massachusetts Medical Society (MMS) and the Massachusetts Chapter of the American College of Physicians (MA ACP) are pleased to support S.3599/H.R.6788, the Healthcare Workforce Resilience Act, which increases the number of visas available for international medical graduates (IMGs). The legislation is a much-needed step in increasing the capacity of our health care system to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and provide care for disadvantaged communities.

The bill “recaptures” employment-based immigrant visas from previous fiscal years to make up to 15,000 available for physicians and 25,000 for nurses. Due to an ageing population and physician retirements, the country was already seeing a shortage of physicians prior to COVID-19, with many physicians coming out of retirement to provide care during the pandemic. Physicians falling ill to COVID-19 further depletes the health care workforce and amplifies the need to address dangerous staffing deficiencies. exacerbates the need to increase health care system capacity. This bill would address the physician shortage by making visas available to international medical graduates (IMGs) to practice in the U.S.

This legislation is also important because IMGs play an essential role in caring for vulnerable and at-risk populations since physicians trained outside of the U.S. are more likely to practice in disadvantaged and lower-income communities than those trained in the U.S.

MMS and MA ACP have long supported policies that would ease barriers for IMGs seeking licensure, as IMGs can provide critical capacity for our health care system. We commend the bipartisan group of lawmakers championing this bill and hope to see it become law.

-David A. Rosman, MD, MBA, President, Massachusetts Medical Society and Elisa I. Choi, MD, FACP, FIDSA; Governor, Massachusetts Chapter of the American College of Physicians

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