As the oncoming decline in practicing U.S. physicians becomes increasingly publicized, the healthcare industry is scrambling to find solutions. For international medical graduates, this shortage of U.S. physician opens doors to a future in the U.S. Although some may question the ability of these graduates, such concerns are built from an absence of knowledge. Training to become a U.S. physician is difficult for IMGs. It requires rigorous studying, testing and training.
Filling the Gaps
Those already practicing in the United States are proof that IMGs can be an asset to the U.S. healthcare system. These practitioners are going beyond ordinary care. In many cases, they provide treatment to individuals with unique needs, specifically those dependent on Medicare and Medicaid. This trend is caused by the geographical dispersal of international medical graduates. Opportunities for these individuals are concentrated in rural and impoverished areas. These locations are less favorable to American medical students who gravitate towards high traffic cities with wealthier patient populations.
As of 2018 there were more than 60 million Americans enrolled in Medicare. More than 700 million Americans enrolled in Medicaid that same year. Both populations require special, often monitored care as a large percentage of those on Medicare and Medicaid identify as disabled. While the focus of foreign medical graduates helping these individuals is due to geographical factors, it is also in part due to the demand for increased physicians in specialties less favorable to American medical students. geriatrics is at the top of this list.
Sharp and Skilled
Not only are IMG physicians treating patients with greater needs, they are doing so with great success. According to a study published in 2016 by the Journal of the American Medical Association, Medicaid patients treated by international medical school graduates had higher survival rates than those treated by U.S. medical school graduates. While there are many variables that could have contributed to the outcome of this study, such as the seriousness of patients’ illnesses, it still serves as a testament to these graduates’ work ethics and care. To read more about how International students are finding a niche in U.S. medicine click here.
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