To help address the U.S. healthcare worker shortage, a number of new laws have been proposed in recent years to reduce the barriers faced by internationally trained healthcare workers. In states like Arizona and Washington, such laws have garnered notable traction and national attention. However, a set of three new proposals introduced to the U.S. House of Representatives earlier this month would be the first of their kind at the federal level. Introduced by Representatives Adam Smith (D-WA) and Lucille Roybal-Allard, the three proposals would help address the healthcare worker shortage by tapping into one of the U.S.’ most underutilized resources: foreign-trained medical professionals living in the U.S. Below we look at what each of these proposals covers and how they help make the healthcare workforce more accessible to foreign-trained professionals.
Immigrants in Nursing and Allied Health Act
This first proposal would provide financial help to those looking to enter the nursing profession or professions that fall under allied health, such as dental hygienists, technologists, athletic trainers, and more. Through federal grants, permanent residents and other lawfully recognized immigrants could seek financial assistance for:
- Education or continuing education
- Licensing, certification, and/or training
- Cost of living stipends for those studying for examinations
- English language courses
- Obtaining academic or licensing records from overseas
Read the full proposal by clicking here
International Medical Graduates Assistance Act
Aimed at international medical graduates (IMGs), the second proposal has two goals. First, it would encourage states to create licensing programs for foreign-trained medical graduates. These programs would let IMGs practice under supervision while they complete U.S.-specific medical licensing requirements.
Secondly, this proposal would establish guaranteed space in residency programs for international medical graduates. This would help more IMGs Match into residency programs–an aspect of training necessary for those IMGs hoping to practice in the U.S.
Read more about the IMG Assistance Act here
Professional’s Access to Health (PATH) Workforce Integration Act
The third proposal is centered on career support and education for healthcare institutions. The U.S. currently has an untapped resource in U.S. citizens or legally-recognized immigrants who completed their medical training overseas but are unable to practice in the U.S. Alongside the first two proposals aimed at removing barriers, this third proposal would provide internationally trained healthcare workers counseling and guidance in pursuit of their career goals.
This proposal would also increase educational efforts for healthcare institutions to raise awareness of the qualifications and abilities of internationally trained healthcare workers and their benefit to the U.S. healthcare system. These educational efforts would limit the implicit bias that exists around foreign-trained medical graduates and international medical licensing.
Read the full PATH proposal here