Monday, July 25, 2016

U.S. in crisis need for physicians but foreign doctors ready to serve face immigration delays

By Angela Lopez

The United States has one of the most advanced health care systems in the world and a physician shortage that seems to be rapidly increasing. A report by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) indicates the United States faces a shortage of 90,00 doctors by the year 2025.  This is why International medical graduates better known as IMG's or international physicians play an important role in our health care system.

According to the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association these professionals represent 26% of physicians in practice and 24% of residents in specialty programs in this country.

I have represented numerous IMGs since I started my immigration practice in 2002.  I have experienced firsthand their struggles and frustrations in working through our immigration laws just to be able to provide medical services in the United States.

Today IMGs are faced with many obstacles and a very complex immigration system that makes it difficult for them to obtain temporary work visas for residency and/or fellowship training programs and general employment after completion of the training programs. Also IMGs who want to be permanent residents in the United States must follow a strict immigration process. It is often a long process which make the experience of obtaining a “green card” very strenuous.

Published reports by various U.S. medical organizations clearly illustrate the need for more doctors in the United States and the need for an immigration system that is in tune with our heath care needs.

AAMC report: The Complexities of Physician Supply and Demand (PDF)
New York Times: Path to United States Practice Is Long Slog to Foreign Doctors (website)

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